Special thanks to Coachworks Car Wash in Bee Cave, TX for their support in the launch of this podcast.
In this week’s episode of ACTS in Motion, we will be talking with college student Jack Hanna, who like Ashley, has been impacted by the ministry of Young Life. Jack is now paying it forward by working with Young Life students.
Also, we’d like to thank Alex of ‘Songs for Story‘ for allowing us to use his music.
What’s the fastest car you’ve ever owned?
Definitely the car I own right now. It’s a 2010 A4. I have to constantly watch my speed because of how smooth it drives.
The hardest part of setting an object in motion is starting (0-60 mph). When do you first recall saying ‘yes’ to what you sensed God was asking you to do? What factors helped you overcome the inertia of ‘staying put’?
I became a volunteer leader with Young Life (YL) in August of 2016. I got placed at Platt Middle school in Boulder and started out leading 6th grade boys. They’re now going into 8th grade and we’ve experienced an amazing, and difficult adventure through the ups and downs of Middle School.
I initially only desired to take on the responsibility of a volunteer. I saw Young Life as a side-gig while my career aspirations in business and finance came first. While the Lord didn’t take away my other career aspirations, he did show me how he has set a table for me as a future staff member in YL.
About 9 months ago, I came to this realization. My boys were experiencing some difficult challenges that allowed me to show them how the Lord can provide strength and comfort. My co-leaders affirmed that I was one that they look up to for spiritual and situational advice. The current staff members in Boulder expressed how I can add a lot of value to their team because I can offer them a different perspective. I saw the Lord speak and continued to pray to ensure that it was truly Him. Through time I understood that the Lord wants to use me to breathe life into the people of Boulder. My response was, “Absolutely, God!” 0 to 60.
If you had two minutes to tell someone the story of what God has been up to, through you, what details would you be sure to include?
I think the Lord is continuously reminding me of the simplicity of the Gospel. At times where we choose to dig in our heels and press into an intimate relationship with Jesus, we can often find ourselves focusing too much on the micro perspective without keeping in mind the macro view of the person of Christ.
Recently, because of this new responsibility with YL, I’ve been feeling myself looking too granular (i.e. the subtle differences between people’s spiritual perspectives, the administrative pressures in full-time ministry, etc.), without reminding myself of the big picture. However, because the Lord has placed me with middle school students, I am constantly looking to remind them of how simple yet deep the love of Jesus truly is. It’s a love story—plain and simple—and we get to experience the love of the King of Kings and have a relationship with Him and walk with Him and laugh and cry and celebrate with Him. That’s it. ‘Loved by the Lord’ is at the core of my identity, and reminding myself of this gives me a comfort and a sense of belonging. It also compels me to be a witness to the Light for others.
Psychologist Susan David, who grew up under apartheid in South Africa, says, “Discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life.” What disruption or discomfort has led to your engagement in meaningful mission?
I heard a quote once from IBM’s CEO, Ginni Rometty: “Growth and comfort do not coexist.” While I think she meant to apply this to a business perspective, I think it translates to a spiritual one quite nicely. The Lord calls us to places of discomfort because it leads us to growth in our relationship with Him.
Recently, I’ve been experiencing a lot of spiritual warfare. The enemy has put up a battle in my heart. He doesn’t choose to attack those who are living comfortably. Instead, he chooses to attack threats to him. Though this has been uncomfortable, this has also affirmed that the steps I’m taking toward YL staff have been blessed by the Lord. I feel like in these challenges, especially when I feel the enemy’s presence, God is preparing me to provide wisdom and guidance to fellow leaders or students who also experience intense spiritual warfare. I can sharpen others and lead them to new paths with Jesus.
Over the last 3 years, what new belief or behavior has most changed your life?
3 years ago, I was 18. The last few years have most likely been the most developmental years of my life spiritually. In short, until I was 19, I could not grasp the idea that I don’t have to do works for God to make Him proud of me. I knew it in my mind, but my actions did not reflect this. I was living a lie. I didn’t have a sense of identity. All I had was a sense of work ethic and a hope that it would be enough to for me to be seen as righteous in the sight of the Lord.
Through difficult challenges with isolation when entering college and hard conversations with mentors that stuck with me through it all (including Pete), God slowly began to break down the foundation I had. He tore away the core idea that my work would be enough. At first this broke me, but it was necessary for the Lord to start from scratch and build a new foundation with me. I found life in the pure and abundant love of the Lord. I found identity from what He has to say about me. I found peace, not judgement, when I chose to dwell in His house and sit at His table.
Newton’s first law states: A body will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless compelled to change its state by the action of an external force. Can you pinpoint any external forces that sent you off your previous course?
I’d have to go back to my spiritual warfare. Though the enemy is not sovereign, he is powerful. He has the ability to lead people down paths where they don’t belong. For me, I struggle a lot with self-worth and feelings of inadequacy. It’s been a recurring theme in my story since I was young, and it’s one of the main reasons why I work extremely hard to please others.
In my recent chapters with God, He has called me to a place of patience. A lot of unknowns are ahead given that I’ll graduate college in December. I’ve tried to make steps toward decisions, but I also felt the Lord tell me to wait for Him to open the door. The mistake I made was isolating myself in this process and not inviting others into my journey. This patience I had turned to stagnation, which led to self-doubt, which led to inadequacy. The enemy pulled me off my path with Young Life and tried to convince me that the people I love wouldn’t be proud of me for taking on the role. I began to worry about whether I should be taking this student staff role, even though it’s a temporary position. I was confused and felt lost.
Thankfully, I have an amazing community of guys in Boulder that sharpen me. When I finally had the courage to invite them into my doubts, I immediately felt reassured that the Lord blessed this choice for me.