Discipleship Update, Fall – 2012

Seasons of Life Ministries Discipleship Update

Wherever You Go, You Bring You with You…
     Moving from Cumming to Gainesville, I thought I might discover a whole crop of men with new problems to drag to the cross. Nope. Today, I have one foot regularly in Alpharetta/Cumming and the other in Flowery Branch/Gainesville. Totally different demographics, right? But, the issues men face are the same – integrity in the workplace, trusting God in an “uncertain” economy, purity vs. pornography, “quiet time guilt”, loving our wives as Christ loved the church, addiction, and on and on. Every guy I sit down breaths and bleeds further evidence that “no temptation has seized you except what is common to man. (1 Cor. 10:13)” While the issues are many, the solution remains singular – abiding in Christ.

     “My job goes back and forth from being terribly frustrating to the most enjoyable calling on earth. I watch men, though grown physically, “grow up” in their faith as God challenges them, tests, them, stretches them by His power. Sometimes, they succeed, sometimes… they… grow. But, growing in faith resembles growing in muscle like this: without breaking and tearing the fibers, the muscles never increase in capacity. Some of these guys, like me, have had to be “wrecked” by circumstance and God’s hand of discipline in order to grow. But, I see growth in them – I see Christ in them. Praise God.

My Addiction:
     This year, I’ve had many opportunities to say “no” to new things that have come up. Odd, while many are looking for work, I have an abundance. But, not all work is paying work and not all that we’re paid for is what we’re supposed to be doing. Case in point – me. I’ve recently begun managing my workflow differently and in the process discovered I had too many commitments. Good had become the enemy of God. Underneath the many commitments I had made to do this, be that, go here was a horrible addiction that had ruined my productivity in some of the key areas God had called me to. I was addicted to the approval of men and progress.

     With all the projects and subprojects I had going on, I had to dramatically improve my ability to say “no” to several “good things” in order to do the best I could at the “God things”. Now, this is a lesson I’ve been learning for several years now, but this summer was a major breakthrough and I’m witnessing clear productivity spikes as a result.

His Addiction
     I’m currently meeting with a guy who’s been battling an over the counter addiction and has been for over 7 years. He takes comfort in knowing that my addiction can be just as detrimental to my family as his can be to his, but knows that if God can sanctify me, He can do a great work in him, too. Watching this guy abide in Christ for 30 days, 60 days, and longer between relapses is remarkable. This week, it’s back to “day 7” again, but I can tell his prayer life and the one on one accountability of another Christian guy who has his back is a key component to his successes. Lasting life change is under way. Long term freedom is in the works.

The Solution:
     Abiding in Christ has always been the only solution to any problem. Drinking in the Word until people smell truth on your breath, receiving specific encouragement from men who know you well, accountability from godly men, and biblical comfort, rebuke and counsel are all elements that enhance our connection to Christ. More importantly, they help us plug back into the vine when we fall away. There is strength in numbers, especially when God + anyone = a majority.

Moving Forward – 2012 & the 2nd Half of our First Decade
     Wrapping up 2012 could look like this (unless God “calls an audible”): continued one on one discipleship, a step back from DivorceCare for a season (which is hard to step away from at a time when they’ve just updated all of their videos & curriculum!!!), leaning more heavily into a writing project involving interviews with over 50 men regarding their discipleship upbringing and/or their discipleship of the next generation.

     Next year, we’re offering a half day workshop on “Getting Things Done God’s Way” and will follow God’s prompting down that trail as He leads. “That Day” should see a new stage here and there over the next two years at least, and thanks to a very generous donation, we’ll be exploring video media over 2013 & 14 in an attempt to reach more people with out compromising impact or relationship.

How to Pray for Seasons of Life:
     Most often, when a guy is caught in the middle of addiction, those whom he has betrayed – wife, family, co-workers, friends – absorb the wound of betrayal and become embittered against him. I would ask all of you to pray for this guy and every guy who struggles with addiction as God helps them and their wives to resist the temptation (trap) to turn against each other, rather to stay united in prayer against the addiction.

     Pray for Seasons of Life as we do our best to stay out of God’s way and allow Him to grow, sustain, and use this ministry to impact the people and community around us. Pray for financial support as we’re in roughly the same place we are every year at this time – fully dependent on Him, praying for obedience, and making the need known.

That’s the story – thanks for reading it!

in Christ,

AP

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