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Destiny Chased Me Down - Jeff's Story
By Janet Etchells

Although Jeff didn’t know what he was looking for, he knew something was missing in his life. He was already a believer, yet he was always seeking something more to give a purpose and meaning. A successful career in the software industry, a stable life, with family and friends, Jeff enjoys spending time with his family. He got involved in small groups and ministries at the Rock Church but still felt something was missing. That is when Jeff Acosta felt a “tug” to attend IMPACT195, a year long discipleship program designed to equip world changers through life transforming experiences.

IMPACT195 provides its students with training, guidance, and opportunity for practical application of what they learn through weekly outreach and service projects in San Diego. To date, 800 outreach projects are completed in over 100 zip codes, in part by IMPACT195 students. With such ministry activities to get involved in, students gain many tools for spiritual growth – and what they need to be world changers. At the heart of the ministry is the desire to see the love of God brought to all 195+ countries of the world. Students also participate in international short term mission’s trips between class terms to places such as Africa, India, Asia, Haiti, Romania, and Mexico. A course of in-depth Bible studies, prayer, and small groups, where students like Jeff learn what their role in the body of Christ is, and they too can share the love of God with others.

Jeff, you are not waiting for something, you are wasting time.

Jeff joined IMPACT 195, attending four hours each evening, Monday through Friday after a full day at the office. He soon learned he needed to rely on God’s strength to get him through the added hours involved with the classes. Though Jeff was excited at the prospect of learning the Word of God, he admits that he was afraid of whom he might become. It became clear that success in the corporate world was not meeting the deep spiritual need within him. Through study of the word and fellowship with other students and leaders of IMPACT195, Jeff began to realize his life had been empty without God’s purpose. He’d never experience fellowship and the sense of community that he experienced in the classes—something he “never thought [he’d] “enjoy”. Gradually, Jeff began to change inwardly, and saw life differently—what life could be with God at its center. Jeff never thought he’d share so much with others, or they with him, but says that “IMPACT195 is a place where you can lay all your sin no matter how big and your brothers and sisters [in Christ] will see you, as a child of the Lord and welcome you with open arms.” Hearing other students’ testimonies helped him realize that God was a God of healing and power.

[Photo by Jeff]

Jeff’s spiritual eyes opened and he gained understanding. He began to see that he was “running from and dodging” God’s leading because it was “scary and uncomfortable”. He didn’t appear to need major personal change in an outward sense, as someone who’s walked a tough journey with addictions, abuse, and incarceration, whose life changes are obvious. When George Clerie, director of IMPACT195, prayed with Jeff, he said “Jeff, you are not waiting for something, you are wasting time,” it became a stark wake-up call for Jeff. He had been dragging his feet. He needed to submit his life to the Lord. Jeff felt his spiritual eyes open and suddenly realized that pride was blocking his spiritual growth and relationship with the Lord. He saw that he’d been walking a lukewarm life with Christ (Revelations 3:16) and knew he wanted to live a life on fire for God. When he started seeing his family with new “eyes”, he realized he was changing from the inside out. Jeff came to the realization that he’d been running from God’s destiny for his life.

Jeff is excited about his new life with Christ. He seeks God’s guidance and direction as well as prays for those on his IMPACT195 team. Hearing testimonies from international mission trips draws the familiar tug to his heart. Jeff is thoroughly inspired by stories his fellow students share of their own experiences. He asks himself, if he too was being led by the Lord to travel to other countries to share the gospel. Jeff shared a dream he had recently, that involves a mission trip to Singapore and sharing the Good News. He said he feels an urgency now, to share the gospel of Christ with others.

No longer trying to impress anyone with his accomplishments, Jeff makes quality decisions in his life. He no longer feels the need to prove anything to anyone. He waits to hear from the Lord for direction on choices from dating to his career path. He is happy to financially bless others out of his own financial success. All he wants is to be guided by the Lord in everything he does. He is attending a mission trip to Ensenada with IMPACT195- his first ever. Jeff shares that he will not likely remain in the corporate world much longer. He would like to transform his career into ministry. Life changes come in many forms. Some lives are transformed very dramatically, and others like Jeff, are changed more subtly. Jeff now submits to God’s destiny for his life rather than running from it. He knows things are about to change and he’s excited. As he explained, “I know the Lord is calling me to go out and make disciples, that part is the easy part [because] it’s the great commission, all [I] have to do now is obey.”

Check out IMPACT195 – come meet Jeff and experience the first week of Winter Term 2012 for FREE. January 10-13, 9AM – 1 PM or 5:30 - 9:30 PM at 3247 Mission Village Drive, San Diego, CA 92123. Inquire more at [email protected] or by calling 619.764.5249.