The first time I met Jan Puterbaugh, I was the brand-new worship leader at a church that was not even one year old. It was an early Sunday morning prior to service and Jan was carrying a stack of folding chairs across a school cafeteria. When someone introduced me to him he dropped the chairs momentarily, thrust his hand out and said, “Hey, welcome to the family!”

That was 15 years ago, and you can still almost always find him moving some chairs around on a Sunday morning before church. He doesn’t do this because that is all he’s qualified to do; he moves those chairs because he has a pure servant’s heart and there is nothing he won’t do if it serves God’s kingdom.

When Jan asked me to write the foreword for his book my mind flashed back to the thousands of hours we have spent working together for our church family, LifePoint. In the last decade and a half, we’ve set up literally hundreds of thousands of chairs. We have carried and pieced together thousands of stage pieces. We’ve assembled a ton of lighting arrangements and sound systems, projectors, and screens, plus countless tables for indoor and outdoor events. To date, our church family has gathered more than 800 times since 2002 and, by my count, Jan has only missed one service during that time because he was sick.

Jan is relentlessly positive. This sometimes bugs me; not because he shouldn’t be optimistic all the time, but because I wish I could be the same way. In all the time I have known Jan I have rarely seen him angry or cross with another person. He and I have only ever had one argument–which is saying a lot considering we have worked together for so long (the disagreement was quickly resolved, apologies back and forth, etc.).

I say all this not because I’m trying to convince you that Jan is a good person. No, I say it because even though Jan is all these things, he has not had a perfect life. This is exactly why he was uniquely suited to write Exodus of our Lives. Early on in our friendship Jan shared many of his past challenges with me, challenges that he will also share with you in the following pages. He is qualified to write a book about personal exodus journeys because he has lived it.

What you’re about to read is a real story of a man who has followed God despite the challenges of addiction and personal loss. I’m confident that as you read his story you’ll see parallels in your own life. That’s because Exodus of our Lives is everyone’s story, starting with the Israelites in Egypt and ending with you. Through the pages, you’ll notice Pastor Jan’s intention is far more than storytelling. He’s also written this book to serve as your roadmap out of bondage.

If you’re struggling with addiction, personal loss, or any other circumstance that holds you back from pure spiritual freedom, this book is the encouragement you need. Exodus of our Lives will help you navigate your way forward, out of the darkness and into the light.

I’m confident that you’ll enjoy and appreciate this book for its honesty, humor, and truth. May God bless you on your journey to the promised land.

Phil Ayres
Lead Pastor
LifePoint Christian Church
Author of Flannel-Graph Jesus: More Than A One-Dimensional Savior