John Alan Turner

Speaker, Author, Mentor, Coach, Facilitator

My Unpredictable Life

This will be a long-ish story. And -- I'll just go ahead and warn you -- I got a little "link happy" in this one. So...LV Hanson works for Catalyst -- as in the Catalyst Conference. I've asked him several times what LV stands for. He told me -- I'm not making this up -- that it stands for Luscious Vernon. When I started calling him that, though, he told me it didn't really stand for anything -- that it's L(only) V(only).

Now I'll call him Lonely Vonely Hanson. But I've digressed already, haven't I?

Catalyst has decided to do some regional conferences in 2009 and will be doing one out here in California in April. Luscious Vernon is the guy Catalyst sent out here as some sort of advance scout. At least that's the best I can figure.

And some folks in Atlanta suggested to him that when he got out here he should contact me -- that somehow I'd manage to connect him with people.

Well, Lonely Vonely called me a couple of weeks ago and said he wanted to meet some influential church leaders and some people who have fascinating stories about what God is doing in their lives. Now, I've lived out here all of three months now. I don't know anybody. I'm an introvert for crying out loud. But as we talked, I thought about my friend Andy Vomsteeg up in Sonoma County -- who may be the boldest leader I've ever met. Then I thought about my friend Jay Loecken -- who sold his house in Atlanta to buy an RV. He travels the country with his family just looking for people to help.

Oddly enough, when I told Luscious Vonely about Jay, he said, "You mean Chad, right? The guy from Idaho?"

I said, "There aren't two of these guys doing the same crazy thing, are there?"

Turns out...yes.

So, yesterday afternoon, I had Lonely Vernon and his Volkswagen Vanagon, Jay and his family and their gigantic office-building on wheels, Chad and his family and their slightly less unwieldy RV, Andy Vomsteeg and the staff from River Park Community Church...all sitting in my living room talking about what God is doing out here on the west coast.

The afternoon started to get away from us, so I said, "Why don't you all stay for dinner?"

Andy had to catch a plane home, and the River Park people said they should get back to their families. But everyone else said, "Are you sure?" And we made dinner for all these crazy vagabonds parked in my driveway.

When dinner was done, dishes were washed, the evening wore on, and I said, "Why don't you guys just stay the night?"

Everyone said, "Are you sure?" And suddenly there was our family of five, Chad & Amy Houck with their two kids, Jay & Beth Loecken with their four kids and Luscious Lonely Vernon Vonely -- 16 people total! -- hanging out, talking, laughing, sharing, eating, drinking. It was like something from...I don't know...the Bible...from the Book of Acts or something.

I was telling this story with my friend Andy Sikora earlier today, and he made a great observation. He said, "I need to hear stories like this too because I can get pretty rigid in my schedule and miss opportunities for sweet community and the encouragement that comes from being in the middle of these kinds of things."

My life is crazy and unpredictable. Things sometimes blindside me. But it's the things that blindside me that leave a lasting mark and change my perspective the most. It's the crazy and the unpredictable that lead me to the place I want to be. And it all forces me to walk by faith and not by sight, to listen and follow the guidance of the Spirit, to be open for whatever God has in store for me today.

Hey, when's the last time God totally interrupted your routine to do something cool?