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She Got the Car, Her Mom Got a Future

     “Becky” was a single mom of three working hard to provide for her kids when her own mother was told she would need to begin dialysis and may need a kidney transplant. Becky had been growing in her walk with Christ and began attending a women’s small group bible study. Her small group had been praying for her needs, but what they didn’t know was something that came to another woman in a dream.

     A friend of Seasons of Life Ministries (anonymous) had a dream about Becky’s car having trouble. She knew it seemed strange and was easy enough to dismiss it as “just a dream”, but on a whim contacted Becky and asked if she’d been having any car trouble. Becky was more than a little surprised and said “yes, I was actually going to let my small group know to start praying for me to get a new car.” Becky had also moved in with her mom, who now needed her help in the dialysis process. As a part of taking care of her mom, she’d be required to have “reliable transportation”.

     It turns out that Becky’s friend who’d had the dream also had an extra car. She explained Becky’s situation and the story of her dream to her husband, who quickly replied – “I guess the Lord wants us to give her our car.” How great is our God? Recently, Becky’s mom was told she would need a kidney transplant. By the grace of God, the help of Seasons of Life Ministries and an oddly prophetic dream, Becky now has “reliable transportation” to bring her mom to dialysis!

     What’s so amazing about discipleship to us is that God so often impresses on the hearts of believers “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. (Matthew 10.8, italics mine)” God prepares hearts, knows our needs, and provides perfectly! We are so grateful to have a ring side seat to watch God knock out the enemy and provide for His children as any good Father would. Praise God and keep “Becky” in your prayers. He’ll know who you mean!

     Seasons of Life could use your help to handle a few of incidental expenses in passing on this vehicle, but we’d also love to be able to help Becky with a gas card or an oil change. This month, if you’d consider giving to our “Speak Life” initiative, we’ll be committing a large percentage of that program’s resources to making sure Becky’s transition is a smooth ride. To help support, go to www.seasonsoflifeministries.org/SOLM/support.html!

AP

The Way Forward

Ministry Update, Plans Moving Forward, & Prayer Feast

As I mentioned in the “What Does Ministry Look Like?” post, we hold our plans with open hands. God has authored our past far better than we could, so as we talk about the way forward, let me include a few highlights from the recent past:

Aarron, Cristine, and Pastor Marvin Jinks at Free Chapel’s
School of Discipleship

  • School of D – Aarron and Cristine completed phase four of Free Chapel’s School of Discipleship and will receive certificates of graduation in a few weeks. SoD is a four phase course offered at Free Chapel to anyone who wishes to understand spiritual foundations, transformation, formation, and impartation. It’s required for all small group and care leaders and we are grateful for the church’s scrutiny in developing new leaders. We gained a lot of formal terminology and understanding of the spiritual growth process, but like holding our plans with open hands, we know God doesn’t fit in a box and will not mature any two believers the same.
     
  • Mentor, be Mentored – Aarron had an opportunity to meet with Pastor Marvin Jinks, head of Free Chapel’s small groups and Pastor Marvin has agreed to meet with him on a more regular basis to further mentor Aarron as a discipler of men and leader in the body of Christ. For years, we’ve made it a practice to not just be disciplers, but to also be discipled; not just mentor, but be mentored; not just pastor, but also to be pastored. This is an exciting new relationship for us and we ask for your prayers moving forward. “I’m so humbled to be a part of of how the Lord is going to use you in the days ahead”, Pastor said. We, too.
  • DivorceCare – We’re prayerfully considering our DivorceCare involvement for the Fall and Spring – North Point has undergone several changes recently in the Oasis model and staffing in that department, and could use seasoned leaders at this time. But, with the number of available, seasoned leaders at NPCC combined with Free Chapel’s growing program and need for leader-trainers and DivorceCare for Kids leaders, we may find ourselves placing both feet down at Free Chapel for a season or two.

  • Prayer Breakfast – As we lean heavily into fellowship over the month of July, we’re excited to announce our first Seasons of Life Ministries Prayer Breakfast at our home, here in Cumming. Saturday, July 16th at 8AM, we invite you to join us for pancakes, eggs, etc., etc., and to pray for God’s work through this ministry, the people in our care and their families, the plans Lord has for our future, and for our family, board, and their families as well. RSVP on Facebook at www.facebook.com/seasonsfb or email prayer@seasonsoflifeministries.org.
     
  • Got BS? Aarron didn’t. After 5 years of undergraduate study, he had accumulated 173 credit hours spread out over 3 majors. When he left college to pursue a business opportunity, the degree was incomplete. After many years in the business world and several years in ministry, he got word from his alma mater that changes had occurred in the university catalog that may allow him to complete his degree with one course. After one phone call, he found out that the situation was even better – the requirement that needed to be filled could be satisfied with a course already on his transcript! Long story short, Aarron will receive his long-overdue diploma from Bridgewater State University in late August of this year!

Yes, we’ve been up to a lot of discipleship. In fact, we recently celebrated the marriage of two dear friends whom we’ve been walking with for a while now – Rory Martin and Coral Neurohr were joined in marriage in May of this year at a private ceremony in Cashiers, NC. We’re very excited and honored to have a front row seat for what God is doing in and through them as they stand in the gap and boldly say “as for me and my house, we shall follow the Lord”.

Just

Who Needs Church? (ONE TH1NG)

     I saw a billboard (actually from our home church) that says “Who Needs Church, Anyway?” This comes on the heels of a conversation I was having with a friend of mine who 1) considers himself a believer in Christ 2) doesn’t go to church, yet 3) is frustrated about the condition of the world today and how far from God people are. I know, some of you are already connecting dots. When I pressed him for a reason, he confessed that church always makes him feel “convicted” or emotional. I understood. It’s kind of like saying “lifting weights always makes my muscles ache”.

     Yeah, that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? Well, one of them, anyway.

     As the conversation went deeper, I could smell something in his story that was just a bit sour. This was a guy who, like many of us, had made the entire church experience about Jesus. Okay, no, not at all. Like many of us, he had made the whole experience of “going to church” all about himself. Yet, a car is not all about the wheels, any more than a body is all about a pinky or a chest. Neither is the body of Christ about one member (or even many members).

     As I read the account of the church’s growth in Acts and as we talk about our love for the church against the backdrop of the many modern day maladies plaguing it, we can’t deny the fact that the believers had everything in common, sold their stuff to help those in need, even launched a relief effort because of a prophetic vision (Acts 11.29) before text messaging!!! Some guy sold his property and donated the money to help the poor. Jesus had told them all before He left the planet that He had a new command (Greek: kainos: fresh, unprecedented, uncommon, new) love one another. At no time was the church about “what’s in it for me”.

Are we tracking together?

     So, this week, a great topic for conversation could be – what do others have to get out of church? What do I bring to the table? What unique gifts, perspective, or large leaning shoulder do I bring with me that could benefit someone else?

     This week, at ONE TH1NG, Jesse Whitfield will be setting up a discussion for some brave guys to chew on at the tables around index cards and golf pencils – what does someone else need in the current economy that you could bring to the table? See also Samuel 23.16 ”

And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. 

      What is it about a wise man that he knows sometimes you just have to be a go to the guy guy? Sometimes, it’s about being available, being present, just showing up. Paul wrote to the church in Rome about how he longed to be with them so they could be mutually encouraged by each others’ faith. What is it about being present? What is it about being brave enough to be humble that can help strong men grow stronger in their faith, their walk, their Lord? If you’re wise, prudent, brave, or just desperate for truth, we’ll see you at a table at the Cabernet on Windward at 6:30 AM.

AP

Even if You’re Not a "Father"…

Ever feel clueless? Try being a dad. Okay, now try being a father of girls…

    As a dad, I don’t feel like making a big to-do about Father’s Day. I’m not sure what deep seated issues I have that keep me in that state of mind, but I just feel like – “I’m a father all the time, my rewards will come when they’re grown and I see the fruit in their lives that the Lord has planted, I’ve tended, and hs grown in His light.” Is that false humility or does it resonate with you, too?

     My personal convictions aside, the Bible has much to say about being a parent, much to say about discipleship, and plenty to say about wisdom, all of which fall under the purview of being a godly Dad. One of the most critical issues of being a leader of any sort – at home, in friendships, in the marketplace, in church – is that we are always learning. So, too are our children, our peers, and those who stand in our shadow. We all learn not only what is taught, but what is “caught”. Discipleship – learning – happens both formally and informally when we submit to what is being taught. Or, as I recall the quote posted on a local restaurant restroom wall:

“If you can’t be a good example, you’ll just have to serve as a horrible warning.”


     If you’re wondering what to get me for Father’s Day, I’m about to tell you a great idea. BUT FIRST, if you’re wondering what to get any dad of daughters I not only recommend this book at the bottom of this post, but a great title that I’m currently reading (again) by Dennis Rainey, called “Interviewing Your Daughter’s Date: 8 Steps to No Regrets”. It is a step-by-step guide to help you as a father to stay appropriately involved in your daughter’s discipleship in the area of love, sex, and dating (whether you even believe in the unbiblical concept of “dating” or not).

     As our daughters (and/or sons) grow, we must remember this: “someone is discipling them”. Formally or informally, they’re constantly learning. Our responsibility is to “train them up”, one we cannot abdicate. Why not teach them what God and wisdom have to say about dating before they learn it through the “school of hard knocks”? Why not embrace our God given responsibility with wisdom, counsel, and prudence instead of letting “girls be girls” or “boys be boys”? How much good, or let me say it this way – how much God ever came out of leaving broken people to themselves?

     Back to the main recommendation – the following book doesn’t immediately mention the Holy Spirit and from the sample I’ve read, I don’t know if it does, so take this all with that as a grain of salt to wash it down. Daddy Dates is a practical guide that answers the question “WHAT THE HECK DO I DO?” when you’re the father of girls.”Daddy Dates” is a great book for you to check out and/or put in the hands of a dad you know. If he’s honest with himself, he’s like all of us – secretly, somewhere, insecure about whether or not he has what it takes to connect with, shepherd, and disciple his daughter, or at least how to do it for under a million dollars, the same million dollars that can’t reverse the pain, confusion, and emptiness she could easily experience if she submits to the discipleship of someone less than her dad.