2020 Above + Beyond Magazine

Learn more about what we are going to do in 2022.

Dear Reader,

I love this time of year: cool(er) weather, football season, s’mores around the fire pit, family gatherings and celebrating Elevate Life Church’s birthday! Every year when autumn starts to finally show up in northeast Florida, it signals a time to reflect over another year of God’s grace and for us to stretch our faith again toward all that God has next.

This year, as I look back, I have to acknowledge the adversity and pain that has marked our world for the last eighteen months. 2020 was unexpected and unprecedented, but 2021, for me, was even more challenging, more exhausting and more heartbreaking. The words of the Apostle have never rang more true: “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.” ( 2 Corinthians 4:9)

Looking back, though, I can see God’s faithful presence in every season of this last year, difficult as they may have been, and more than ever, I am convinced that the challenges behind us are not worthy to be compared to the glories ahead of us. The open doors we will walk through will be worth all the hell in the hallway we had to endure.

Recently, I preached about the story of Jesus walking on the water to the disciples after their long, dark and exhausting night of rowing against an impossible headwind. In John’s recording of the story, there’s an additional detail included after the storm subsides: “Then they were willing to take Him into the boat, and at once the boat reached the shore where they were heading.” (John 6:21)

Did you catch that? As soon as Jesus boards their boat they immediately reach the shore they had been rowing toward. All night they had faced incredible adversity and negative momentum – the wind was against them. But in one moment, Jesus turns their unrelenting adversity into supernatural advancement and brings them to the exact place to which He had sent them. The disciples got to the other side right on schedule after all!

I believe that after seasons of unique adversity, there are always seasons of unique advancement. After fighting the storm, there is a miraculous moment of God-breathed momentum so that the time, energy and opportunity that seemed lost is completely restored. I believe that’s the season we are stepping into as a church – a season where God advances and accelerates our movement to take us where He has called us to go. There’s no group of people I’d rather go on this journey with than you! I can’t wait to witness the impact that God makes on the other side of all we’ve come through. With all my heart I believe the best is still yet to come!

– Tim, Kristal and family