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Break from Momentum?

Clean-Slate-Date-StampedIf you’re a regular on our blog, you know Monday is usually a quick post designed to get you on your way with clear thoughts of God and encouragement to move your week forward. This week is a little different.

Shifting gears and gearing up for “Clean Slate”. So, while we’re tightening up the curriculum and working on workshop related tasks, we’re taking the week off from this column.

Hope you can join us at Clean Slate on Alpharetta on Friday from 9-2, and we’ll see you in a couple of weeks with some new Monday Momentum content!

Don’t miss Clean Slate… Early Bird Registration discount ends tonight!

Change is Good?

Eyes on the Numbers

In our household, I’m the numbers guy – “Guardian of the Financial Spreadsheet”. So, when change comes along, I tend to be the most emotionally impacted by the ramifications: need new tires, classroom supplies, low on peas and coffee, torn dress shirt – you get the point. I’m responsible to calculate the need, lead in prayer for provision, and trust God with His reply and timing.

What’s More Important, Time or Money?

After over 6 years in “ministry as usual”, shifting the balance of what the ministry does on a day to day basis doesn’t only impact my financial spreadsheet – it impacts my calendar, dramatically. Most often, change requires both time and money. When the ministry has most often run “short” financially, it’s hard for me to decide if I’m more “nervous” about the investment of time or the investment of money. Ever been there?

Clean-Slate-Date-StampedWhat’s Different?

Seasons of Life has almost always been a “free service” ministry – there’s only a few things we’ve ever charged money for, and discipleship has never been one of them. It’s always been (and will probably always be) foreign to us to sit down with someone(s), listen to them, point them to scriptural truth, pray for and with them, and then say “Ok, that’ll be x dollars.” However, four wise men in my life have recently (in the same 10 to 14 days, wow!) counseled me, without my asking them, to amp up two existing programs that we do charge for, and focus attention on them: That Day and “Clean Slate“.

Support Badge

The “Now”:

I’m freshly encouraged by the registration numbers in for our April 18th “Clean Slate” workshop. But, this is a small, “pilot episode” and it will be a while before the ministry begins to see a sustainable financial impact from this emphasis on bible-based productivity coaching. I have opened up for promotion 8 dates in this year’s calendar for potential “That Day” performances and will begin marketing this more actively this month. Again, this leaves a gap between the ministry’s current financial situation and a more sustainable future. Including first quarter shortfall and current April needs, we’re less than $11K away from everything being “current” come April 30. This includes staff salary, replacement printer drum & toner, email marketing fees, and support for a couple of local “Speak Life” families in immediate need.

The Match

We currently have a $4,000 pledge in the mix. If we receive donations and pledges meeting that by Tuesday, 4/15, we’ll receive all of that match. That means, to move April forward, I’ve got to ask any and everyone to help us bridge the gap with donations or pledges by then. Please, help out in any way – individually, as families, businesses, or small groups – to make this happen. We’re super grateful for the work God has put before us and very grateful for everyone who continues to support discipleship, Speak Life, Clean Slate, and That Day.  Equally, help us connect people with programs by sharing the links for “That Day” and “Clean Slate” with people you know who could benefit from either.

To Help Directly

Please consider using your online banking service’s automatic bill pay to support – it’s usually free for you and for us. See our support page for details on that and consult your bank’s online banking page to set it up as either one time or regular monthly or quarterly giving. Otherwise, you can also use our online support page to give securely via debit/credit card. If you’d like to pledge toward our matching gift, simply email us at support@seasonsoflifeministries.org and let us know your intent. Thanks, SO much for your support!!!

in Christ,

AP

What if Jesus Mean What He Said?

Below is a re-post from Stand To Reason’s Greg Koukl. I met some of Greg’s staff and volunteers a few years ago at BIOLA and immediately recognized him as someone who “gets it” when it comes to grace… and Jesus… and the cross. I hope you’ll visit his site, learn about his ministry, and be encouraged by his word.

in Christ,

AP

Sometimes, knowing what Jesus did not come to do is almost as important as knowing what He did come to do because a wrong understanding of the first can lead to confusion on the second.

Two groups seem to go astray here.

The first are non-Christians enamored with Jesus for what they take to be His emphasis on the Golden Rule, love for one’s neighbor, concern for the poor and the outcast, and “tolerance” (the latter understood as accepting all and judging none)—broadly what has come to be called “social justice.”

The second group are Christians who, focusing on the “red letter” sections of the Gospels—the actual words of Jesus often rendered in red so they stand out—come to the same conclusion as the first group, on the main. These believers ask, “What if Jesus meant what He said?” in discourses like the Sermon on the Mount.  Again, social justice.

For those tempted to summarize Jesus this way, consider for a moment the final record of Jesus’ life—the last testament of His purpose and mission—written by one of Jesus’ intimate inner circle, the “beloved” disciple John.

Surprisingly, from John 1:1 to John 21:25 there is not a single verse that advances the cause of social justice.  Not one.  Jesus’ only mention of the poor is this—“The poor you always have with you” (Jn. 12:8).

Check any major discourse of Jesus—the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7), the Bread of Life Discourse (Jn. 6), the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24, Lk. 21, Mk. 13), or the Upper Room Discourse (Jn. 13-17)—and you will search in vain for emphasis on the social gospel.  Why?

Indeed, check any Gospel. Yes, occasionally you will find a mention of the poor, but almost always when Jesus is making a point about something else—hypocrisy (Matt. 6:2-3), a widow’s generosity (Lk. 21:2-3), Zaccheus’s repentance (Lk. 19:8), the rich young ruler’s confusion (Matt. 19:21), or a lesson about the afterlife (Lk. 16:20, 22).  Why?

Greg Koukl, Stand to Reason

Because proclaiming social justice was not Jesus’ mission.  Jesus’ discourses focus on something else.  The Gospels focus on something else. The Epistles focus on something else.  Not on the works of Christians, but rather on the work of Christ.

It isn’t the poor who Jesus commends on the Sermon on the Mount (and elsewhere), but rather the poor in Spirit, not the poverty stricken, but the morally broken.

Picture the tax collector Jesus tells about—hardly destitute—beating his breast pleading, “God be merciful to me, the sinner” (Luke 18:9-14).  This man proclaiming his spiritual poverty went away justified while the Pharisee, whose spiritual arrogance clouded his genuine spiritual need, did not.

The main divide for Jesus was not between the poor and the rich, but between the proud and the repentant.  In His own words:

• “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Lk. 6:32).
• “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28).
• “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” ( Lk. 19:10).
• “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (Jn. 3:17).

I point this out not to deemphasize our obligation to the poor because certainly the Bible teaches us to be compassionate and help those in material need.  I point this out to emphasize the centrality of the Gospel.  Did Jesus care about the poor and downtrodden?  Of course He did.  He also cared about the rich and powerful.  Jesus helped everyone and anyone who came to Him—poor beggar or prostitute, wealthy tax collector or Pharisee.

“Social justice”—a.k.a. the “social gospel”—is not the Gospel.  It was not Jesus’ message.  It is not why He came.  His real message was much more radical.

“What if Jesus meant what He said?”  Indeed.  That’s my question, too.

So many confusing messages and well-meaning, yet unbiblical viewpoints find their way to the forefront of our society. But at Stand to Reason, we continue to dedicate ourselves to ensuring you and others live and act in light of the true Gospel of Christ.

New Direction or New Focus?

Quick History:

For years, we’ve been meeting in coffee shops, greasy spoons, and across living room coffee tables with men, women, and couples who are either troubled in their walk with Christ or just seeking to avoid getting off track in their walk. And, wherever two men, two women, or two couples have been confronted with the truth of God’s word, life change has happened.

Small groups work. So does discipleship. So, why would we ever consider stepping out of our “sweet spot”? We’re not.

Which-Way-

The Shift?

But, for the past few years, and more specifically the past few months, we’ve felt a nudge to spend a little more time outside of discipleship in order to lead more and new people into more discipleship. We know the value of one on one, but Aarron has also been accused of being very effective in the area of large group speaking, seminars, and performing. Recently, four completely unrelated sources of wise counsel have said the same 3 things:

  1. You’ve already been doing “x” & “y”, too.
  2. You’re really good at “x” & “y”.
  3. Have you considered spending more time doing “x” & “y”?

Meet “X” & “Y”

So, we’re really excited to announce we’re shifting more effort into two existing programs and will be spending as much time as God affords us to reach the lost, the found, and the lost-and-found with them. “That Day”, a one man show about rewards at the judgment seat of Christ has already entertained, informed, and challenged hundreds of men and women in the Metro Atlanta area. We’re making 8 dates available on my calendar for performances through the end of 2014. (Email us for the dates, but think May, June, September and October) In addition, Clean Slate is a bible centered productivity workshop that brings clarity to the confusion and clutter that often attack us on the way to getting things done. We’ve compiled a ton of effective and useful information and presenting it in a half day workshop at the Hyatt Place on Windward Parkway on April 18th from 9 to 2.

How You Can Benefit

Both “That Day” and the Clean Slate Workshop bring their own kingdom value to the table – fun, educational, challenging, and so on.You can benefit from them by attending either, but we need your help with making at least one of those happen:

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  • That Day – Right now we need your help introducing Aarron to pastors, business and bible study leaders, and retreat coordinators. Ask them what they believe about the judgment seat of Christ and invite them to reach out to aarron@seasonsoflifeministries.org to dive deeper into how That Day can witness to those they serve.

  • Clean Slate
    – Registration is now open online. Walk in registration is $125 for the day, but there’s a $40 early bird registration discount up until April 14th. Please, read up on it, look for our upcoming promo video, and share this link with a friend, coworker, colleague, or boss. (This week, we’ll extend an additional $10 off registration to our newsletter readers. Register with this link by Friday, April 10!)

 

Family in Need – What Can You Do?

A guy I know shows up for a new job. Boss seemed to like him and he was doing a good, needed job. But come one Friday, he comes in to get his paycheck and gets the news, instead… “We’re not going to make payroll this period. Might have to let you… and him, and him… go.”

What you do if you’re that guy? End of the month is coming and you’ve got $60, a wife and 2 kids to feed, and an electric company, gas company, and phone company expecting you to share that missing paycheck with them…

 

I wouldn’t expect him to call me… Can’t imagine I’d call me in that situation, either. But, word gets around and before he knows it somebody is putting a phone in his hand with me on the other end.

“What’s it going to take to keep the lights on?” I asked,”

“Between gas, electric, water, and phone, we need about $850, plus rent and food…

 

So, this is me letting you know about the need. This guy and his family all love Jesus and we love them. So, can you help? Anything that’s given this month and designated “Speak Life” will help this family. Can you or someone you know help them out? To give online specifically for this cause, go to our website at www.seasonsoflifeministries.org/support and use our online giving portal there. Make sure to designate your gift “Speak Life” using the pull down menu.

 

Thanks, for reading, praying, and giving!

AP