Monthly Archives: January 2011

This Has Nothing to Do with Discipleship?

I’m sure this has something to do with discipleship, but I can’t figure out what yet. Maybe it will come up as an illustration for a point that needs to be made in regards to the fasting articles and / or denying one’s flesh. Yeah, that’s it…

For now, enjoy. (HT: Walker Hester)

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Never been a gr8 evengelist. Always wondered how I’d win souls – 2nd wk in a row my daughter’s brings a friend 2church that asks 2 rec’v Christ. HE = faithful.

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More details l8r this week. 4 now, just praise – 2day I am ever more aware of my brokenness, depravity, and poverty of spirit. Thank You, Lord 4 redemption!!!

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“Blessed r they who hunger & thirst 4 righteousness… (Mt. 5.6)” I’ve never fasted like _this_ b4, but gr8ful 4 the challenge. 2day, I’m thxful 4 His grace.

I Didn’t _Mean_ to Make Pornography…

     Dr. Albert Mohler recently made one of my favorite new statements in his article on the controversy surrounding MTV’s Skins.

David Carr… suggests, plausibly enough, that MTV executives did not “set out to make child pornography,” but they clearly did not set out not to make child pornography, either.

     I’ve always enjoyed Dennis Prager’s maxim – “Clarity is more important than agreement.” Dr. Mohler makes his point without disagreeing. Rather, he clarifies the argument – just because you didn’t mean to do something doesn’t mean you didn’t do it. There’s a drunk driving ad from Australia where a guy in a bloodied shirt walks through an accident scene pointing to a victim being loaded into an
ambulance – “See, he’s only a little hurt. She’s only a little grief stricken. She’s only a little dead… I was only a little over the limit.”

     Sin is sin. Amen? I don’t know that I even buy Carr’s premise – MTV has always sought to push the limits. Offering something that can easily pass as child porn is merely a logical extreme of the path they’ve been on for the past 30 years.

     It’s easy to poo-poo MTV and ride them just because… well, they’re MTV. I’m not going to claim I’m not glued to “Celebrity Rehab” or “Sober House”. Heck, I’m in the counseling/reform/healing business. Nor am I going to knock MTV for pushing the limits of what’s acceptable on TV. That’s too easy a target. What this whole controversy does do, however, is highlight the veracity of Paul’s argument in Romans 1 when he talks about how the gateway to depravity is when our “foolish hearts [are] darkened” as a result of us denying thanks and honor to God. From that point in the chapter, it’s a downward spiral of depravity whereby God hands the depraved over to their own depravity.

     Don’t get up on your soapbox yet. Remember who you were before Jesus blinded you with the truth? I do. Hooked on porn, cussing like a sailor, living for me and my agenda. Wish I could say all of that’s changed – at least I’ve been delivered from porn and only cuss on “special” occasions… I didn’t mean to live for my agenda…

     There it is again.

     Let’s be honest about this – MTV doesn’t need our prayer any less than those of us who create the demand by watching these shows. Can we get serious about praying for real, sincere revival in America? If nobody watches it, it doesn’t stay on the air. The solution is spiritual. The Solution has a name. And, He is interceding for us now.

Will you join Him?

Pray.

One of the most awesome things about the Gospel is that through Christ we have access to God – to boldly approach the throne with freedom and confidence. [Ephesians 3.12] For ages, the wall was up and there was a curtain separating mankind from the Holy of Holies. But, with the crucifixion of Christ, the veil was torn.

Wouldn’t you expect us to pray more often? If we really knew how great and awesome God really is, especially as we read the Psalms and epistles, if we really knew how depraved and filthy we are without Christ, especially in light of Romans and Leviticus, wouldn’t we be lying face down before God for hours honestly and desperately praising Him and thanking Him for His mercy and grace?

Somehow, we get tied up in the mundane, the urgent, the noise and the dirt of the world. Can I just mention something to us who call ourselves followers of Christ? The gospel is for us, too. We need it everyday. Every hour.

This week, I got to meet with a guy who’s going through a challenging season and learning to pastor his wife’s heart while she begins to uncover many of the curses and judgments that have fallen on her through her family of origin and first marriage. She’s been lied to, cheated, and confused about her real worth. Her true identity has been warped and she hears the voice of her earthly father and ex-husband playing over and over in her mind. She’s constantly reminded of who she’s not and what she’s incapable of.

We all need earthly advocates that will approach the throne on our behalf. It is an echo of what Christ is already praying and is a bold, powerful harmony that accompanies the song of heaven.

I didn’t want to give him any “advice”. I just prayed as he spoke and listened for what the Holy Spirit might have for him. I pray that the words that came out of my mouth were from God and God alone – “Mike, as ‘high priest and pastor of the family’, she needs you to pray her through this. Pray with her and on her behalf.” She needs to know the gospel every moment of her day to shield her and defend her against the accuser who daily batters her esteem. “You are worth my one and only Son.”

It strikes me at this time – how many of us are actively praying for the people in our life who already know Jesus, but don’t experience Him every day? How many of us know people who are carrying the weight of false accusations about their identity, their “impossible” situation, their hope and future? We’re going to start doing something about it.

The first step is this – let’s admit that we all need Jesus all the time. Next comes “ask the Lord to reveal to us who He wants us to pray for”. Consequently, let’s gather together and corporately pray for those who need it. We have three enemies at us – the world, the flesh, and Satan. The latter comes to “steal, kill, and destroy”. Prayer is our battle cry – are we in the fight or distracted by life’s “worries, riches, and pleasures” (Luke 8.14)?

Starting in the next couple of weeks, we’re opening our (rental) home for “Pizza and Prayer”. Bring your broken heart, your tales of brokenness, and a desire to storm the gates of Hell and we’ll provide the pizza and time and space to pray. We’ll most likely start on Sunday, Feb. 6th, sometime mid-afternoon and will end by 6, but email us at prayer@seasonsoflifeministries.org to RSVP.

Scotty Smith – TGC

For now, I’d love to pass on a post from Gospel Coalition about a great prayer. We could all use a lot of great prayers, couldn’t we?
(HT: Matt Erickson)

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/scottysmith/2011/01/26/a-prayer-for-friends-weighed-down-with-various-burdens/

This is Tough to Read

I’m not looking to promote or slander anyone in public office on this blog, specifically with this post. I would, rather, like to present the opinion expressed by a co-laborer in Christ – Dr. Albert Mohler. If you’re a fan of our President, great. If you’re not a fan of this President, great. The intent here is to present one academic’s opinion on what this President is conveying regarding the tragic issue of abortion.

What does this have to do with discipleship?

As followers of Christ, we are called to search the scriptures and allow our worldview to be driven by our theology, not the other way around. As we consider how we think about abortion, we have the opportunity to influence those around us either toward Christ or against Him. Do we honor His name when we permit, even promote abortion? Evaluating what is happening in the world is part of the prophetic call of everyone who purports to follow Christ.

Shall we call evil good and good, evil? Or, shall we pray for wisdom and discernment from God who gives it freely and without reproach? Will we admit that abortion is merely an echo of our own depravity, a choice to end a life that another may live as they choose, unaccountable to the Truth of God and abiding guidance of the Holy Spirit?

This is not a political problem. It does not have a political solution. It is a spiritual problem and can only be solved by a spiritual Solution. That solution has a name and it is Christ.

Read on, comment cogently, pray fervently.

in Christ,

AP

http://www.albertmohler.com/2011/01/24/in-his-own-words-a-radical-pro-abortion-president/

Behind the Scenes on "That Day"

Here’s a link to a draft of our “That Day” promo video. While the video quality of the interviews is broadcast quality, the footage of the actual performance is a stark contrast. We hope to update it soon with high quality live footage of an upcoming performance in April. For now, here’s what all the buzz is about:

Go Long, Go Deep, Go-go-GO!

            Junk mail. Got it? Me, too. Last thing I want our newsletter to be is another piece of mail that clogs up your inbox. We only send out a handfull of support letters each year and hope they hit the target God intended. Sometimes that target is the trash, other times it’s the “give” pile. But, with all the requests floating around out there, ours is bound to wind up being welcome in some inboxes, clogging up others, and overwhelming in still others.

            So, what do you do?

            Earlier this month, Andy Stanley delivered a message about what to do with all the support requests that come your way. Personally, I disagree with what he had to say in one respect (which I may blog on in a later post – good reason to follow our blog…), but agree entirely in another.

            The practical advice was “do for one what you would want to do for all”. In other words, focus your giving – financial, prayer, and time resources at the one area God really moves you in. That way, you will not “grow weary in doing good”. But, what if the growing weary part doesn’t come from “going wide”. What if growing weary is more a barometer of life lived on our own steam rather than in God’s power? I agree with our pastor- listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit, especially in regards to giving of your time, your treasure, and your prayer. I digress…

            I also agree with him in saying there are a ton of organizations out there that could really use a few focused people who “go long and go deep”. If we’re going to continue to follow God’s lead on the mission of discipleship, Seasons of Life is going to need about a dozen and a half families who are willing to go long and/or go deep. At the core of our support are about 15 families and individuals who support Seasons of Life as monthly supporters. There are about a half dozen others who jump in with a “big splash” around 3 to 4 times a year or make a big difference in our year end giving.

            If you’re one of them, THANK YOU.


            That brings us to just under $2,000 in monthly support – a far cry from the over $7,000 needed to pay two full time employees, recognize volunteers, help those in need, handle administrative fees, keep the lights, phones, and internet turned on, etc. As we look beyond 2011 to 2016 and all that comes in between, we’re going to need about 18 more families, individuals, small groups, and/or businesses to help bridge the gap.

           Here’s the cool part – we don’t care if we’re getting what’s left after you’ve given to all your other commitments. In my hand I have two checks for $200, a $100, a $50, and a $12 check. The $12 is from a friend who I’m sure is a regular tither to his church, a giver to missions, and a supporter of other para-church ministries like Seasons of Life. But, I love the fact that he’s intentional about writing us a check – even if it’s for the change found between the seat cushions. My guess is, we may see a lot of very small checks from him, but I don’t see him or his family growing weary and I don’t ever see us sending a check back to him saying “this isn’t enough”. The point is – he feels led by God to give and gives obediently and cheerfully. Win for the Kingdom of God.

           This month, we’re need to replace a toner cartridge in our printer, keep the lights on, meet with men and women who are on fire for Christ and want to go deeper with Him for the long haul. Your support, whether deep, long, shallow, or short, will help us to meet them where they are. 

            Maybe you’re in a position where you can support discipleship, but only once in a while. I’d like to invite you to meet a specific need, right now. Maybe you’re in a position to give a little bit once in a while. If God is behind the desire to point that giving at Seasons of Life, give quarterly. If you’re in a position to give monthly and think $10 is embarrassing or $1,000 would be prideful- pray about it first. If God is leading you there, my goal this month is to remove any barrier between your heart and your giving.


            Here is a list of some current projects we’re working on that could use your support – if you’d like a specific need to meet, this is for you. If you’re a current supporter and feel a tug in your heart to increase your giving, just call or email us and we’ll take care of you right away. If you’re on the sidelines, thinking about jumping in – get really, really quiet and ask God if Seasons of Life is the right place for you to give. If you sense the response is “yes”, go to our website and follow the steps to partner with us for as long as God would have you.

Go long, go deep!


in Christ,

AP

What Have We Been Up To?

And, what’s next?

     Every year, the most taxing time for me is around the end of the year, when we get into “walk, but trust mode”. It’s a time when we do a lot of letter writing, emailing, phone calling, and general fundraising activity that normally had one or both of us collapsed in a sweaty heap, exhausted, yet grateful for God’s provision. A little “regroup” time is always in order.

     Thus, we try to start off each new year with a couple of “vacation days” [this term is used loosely in light of the recent snowstorm that had all four kids trapped in the house for 8 days with no school…], some sort of food fast, some form of media fast and/or “regroup” time. As an organization, it’s important to have checkpoints where we can… well, be checked on how closely we’re abiding in Christ, how well we’re staying on mission, and revisit the mission. What is it that God’s called us to? Are we on track with Him or have we gotten ahead or off the path?

     For the past couple of weeks, we’ve been mulling that over, praying about it, and will be updating our website with a fresh look, clearer description, new resources, and links to our Facebook page, this
blog, Twitter, and a variety of other enhancements. It’s an exciting time for us at Seasons of Life.

     With “That Day” growing in popularity [we’ve currently got about 4 performances either on the calendar or in the planning stages], we’re looking forward to greater exposure for the cause of Christ, the mission of discipleship, and expansion of our workload. We’re grateful for these new opportunities and invite you to pray for us and consider supporting us in your regular or periodic giving.

     Aarron will continue discipling men this year, helping out at ONE TH1NG as a table leader and possibly even guest facilitator, and continue to manage and execute the project we know as “That Day“. Cristine has taken on a couple of new women in her discipleship, is currently leading a women’s small group for North Point Community Church, and continues to grow in her ministry to teenage girls through Free Chapel’s “The Blend“.

     As a couple, we continue to keep our eyes open for couples that God sends our way for “couples discipleship”. Frankly, it’s an odd feeling when God does that to us – having only been married for just over three years, we often look at the Lord with a Moses look (you want me? I-i-i-i d-d-on’t speak so, w-w-well.). Yet, He constantly gives us opportunities to grow in our own marriage that just happen to coincide with places that the couple in question struggles with. So, we trust His judgment and just do our best to “be available” to Him as He calls.

     Demand for the food ministry has continued to grow, so we invite you to support us in supplying food, clothing, and even financial support for several local families in need. Some of them just got their lights turned back on and are still behind. We’d like to help them keep their kids warm this winter, so please, take a trip over to our giving page and consider supporting our local families in need with a one time gift or make a note on your online transaction to that effect. As always, pray for them, too.

     The questions we’re trying to get people to constantly meditate on this year are: “am I growing more dependent on God or more self-sufficient?” and “am I growing more sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit?” Of course, you know when you get something like that from God, He’ll immediately put you to the very same test. It’s what I call God’s “drink your own Kool-Aid guardrail for people who’d like to think they’re fully surrendered.”

     As the Lord clears our evening schedule, we plan to dive in to leading a new DivorceCare group, whether at Free Chapel or North Point, we’re just excited to have dual availability as He may call us. It’s very hard to know that there are so many people out there in the midst of separation or divorce who don’t have access to real, live people to listen and point them back to scripture and the comfort, compassion, healing, and direction that only God can provide.

     Please pray for them, wherever they are, that our hearts’ desire [that God would fully reconcile 5 divorcing couples this year], would be part of His will. Also, pray that we trust in Him and not our own personal agenda, that He would do the healing, restorative work through us in His power alone.

     We always encourage you to follow along with our newsletter and Facebook and pray that you will support this mission as we do all that we cannot through the power of Him who can do exceedingly abundantly more than all we can ever ask or imagine through Christ Jesus.

in Christ,

Aarron Pina
Executive Director