This week, Cristine went in for outpatient surgery to repair an umbilical (belly button) hernia. Many of you received the “calling all prayers” email and prayed like crazy. She and I wanted to thank you for your prayers. Today, I wanted to give you a quick update on her situation.
First off, the procedure went great. Dr. Goehring, who had done her previous surgery for gall bladder removal 2 years ago, led the team. In his opinion, Cristine is in phenomenal health and was a dream patient as far as this procedure goes. Having lost and kept off 75 lbs over the past couple years, this type of surgery is more often on people whose weight puts them in greater danger of complications. While it took her quite a while to come out of unconsciousness afterward, it was pretty well uneventful surgery.
Upon leaving the hospital yesterday, Cristine had all the pain that should be expected after such a procedure. On a 1 to 10 scale, she commented “it’s about a 4-5 when I’m sitting or laying down. But, standing? About an 8.” As of this morning, on minimal sleep, her pain level is down to a 2-3 when sitting or laying, but still about a 7.5 when standing.
Our goal today is to get her some uninterrupted sleep for a few hours, push fluids, and get her some experience standing and walking. Your prayers are greatly coveted for a swift and thorough recovery.
If you’re into productivity and getting things done, this is going to sound like the strangest exercise, ever. I get it. But, humor me because as I read the scriptures, it’s the only productivity exercise that matters.
You will need about 2 minutes and your to do list or calendar for this exercise. Before you begin, let me give you the essential backdrop for it:
What Does Matter?
One day, we will each come before Jesus. Here, I’m specifically referring to those who are “in Christ”, saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. We will be rewarded for the things we did while living here in the body. Here, for the first time, we will know the true measure of our earthly productivity from the only perspective that matters: God’s. See 2 Cor. 5:10. We call this the bema (BAY-muh) seat judgment. While we don’t exactly know what how it will go down, we know that it will go down. Some will hear the word “welcome”. Others will hear “well done”.
Exercise, Part 1:
Look at today’s to-do list and/or calendar, reading each item and appointment briefly. Imagine you accomplished everything on the list and met every appointment on your calendar. Imagine at the end of that day, everything you’d hoped to accomplish was not only checked off the list, but also catalogued in detail in the book of your life. From this book, you will account for what you accomplished – see Romans 14:12.
On that particular day, you die and appeared before Christ to account for everything He just recorded in the book of your life. You received some rewards for things done well and experienced loss for some things you did out of selfish motive, but you’re still saved and you’ll still spend eternity with Him. Suddenly, heaven disappears and you’re back here at the beginning of that day with your list and calendar. The day has just begun – and I sit down across the table or desk from you. “So, what did you see?” I ask. Could you tell me at that point?
Exercise, Part 2:
The prophet Daniel details a vision of standing before God. It’s a vision of national judgment, not personal, but gives us valuable insight regarding what it will be like to stand before God. Before you tell me about your encounter with Christ, you need a picture of what you’re about to describe to me. It’s crucial that you read this in a very specific way:
- Stare wide eyed as if looking off into space. (I know, weird, but you’ll understand why in a moment.)
- Read this in a whisper as if you’re telling me every stunning detail of what you actually saw with your own eyes just before being called to account for your life:
As I looked,
“thrones were set in place,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat.
His clothing was as white as snow;
the hair of his head was white like wool.
His throne was flaming with fire,
and its wheels were all ablaze.
A river of fire was flowing,
coming out from before him.
Thousands upon thousands attended him;
ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
The court was seated,
and the books were opened. (Dan. 7:9-10)
- NOW… Look back at your list. Glance at your calendar. Is there anything on either that you don’t want to have to account for in front of the God you just described to me? Not because you don’t feel like doing it, but because you know our time on earth is short and if you invest time in doing that activity it will steal time away from something more important that the Christ you just described has called you to do?
- Eliminate what does not line up with this judgment. You know you have responsibilities. You know there are pleasant distractions you’d like to follow. But, you know there’s only so much time and you… will… receive rewards or suffer loss… (1 Cor. 3:12-15) in front of… the God of the universe – Ancient of Days (El Olam!!!) – seated on a flaming throne, attended by millions, aware of every detail of your life… longing to reward you with a “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
One day, we’ll all be called home. And, that’s great news because we’ll spend forever worshiping Christ. But, He promised rewards, detailed rewards, and commanded us to store them up in heaven (not for our glory, but to His). If we’ll spend forever enjoying Him and the rewards He’s given us (to which some would add “enjoying Him in proportion to the rewards attained”), why would we waste what little time we have here on things that will turn to ash at the bema seat?
Eternity is the only proper base line for temporal productivity. That’s the connection between That Day and Clean Slate. You’re going to be judged for everything you do. Make sure what you do is worth judging.
Now, go. Be eternally productive.
As March came to a close, Seasons of Life Ministries packed all of our gear into a big truck and made a 4 hour journey to Tennessee!
Pastor Bill Requardt has been leading a growing church through 2 years of transition and invited us to bring the live parable “That Day” to his church. West Hills Christian Church is a small denominational church on the Tennessee/Virginia line. In fact, Bristol is featured in this Geico Commercial: whether you live in Bristol, TN or Bristol, VA you can save a lot of money by switching to Geico.
Universal Story Geico Doesn’t Know…
Both Pastor Bill and I agreed: whether you live in Bristol, TN or Bristol, VA you can save a lot of waste at the judgment seat if you’re living every day with eternity in mind. So, it was fitting that the latest rewrite of the That Day script opens with main character Dan Matthewson telling his story in terms of 3 words – “‘why‘ are you here?”, “‘what‘ do you do about that?”, and “‘how‘ do you do what God’s called you to do along the way?'”
With pews that haven’t been this crowded in years, the Sunday, April 2 church service opened with worship leader Dani Gibson singing “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” and Dan Matthewson, Joe the Shoeshine Guy, Juanita the Cleaning Lady, and eventually Jesus Christ taking the spotlight… and the judgment seat. Not only did I get to play all of the above characters (and more), I also got to watch the crowd’s reactions in real time. There were smiles, laughs, tears, a few elbows and pokes, and many pensive looks of introspection. By grace, viewers were clearly moved.
Based on our conversations afterward, some were also awakened and motivated to live more intentionally for Christ’s kingdom, rather than their own. Big win. Praise God.
“We really were uplifted!!!! Thank you for Blessing us!!”
Mission – Invest & Invite
West Hills brought us to Tennessee in order to create some buzz and a big event to which their members could invite people. Pastor Bill, his wife Holly, the elders, and members were diligent in inviting people from the surrounding community. From where I stood, I could see about 30-35 new guests attending – with a church that typically runs about 100-120 attenders, it sounds like this was a very successful outreach.
An Investment in Prayer
Here’s how you can pray for West Hills Christian Church:
- that many of the guests who came to see That Day return,
- that many of the returners come to saving faith in Christ and
- that all begin to really connect the dots between their days and that Great Day (2 Cor. 5:10, 1 Cor. 3:12-15, Rom. 14:10).
Our Hope Forward…
This year, we hope to reach 10,000 people with the message of “living every day with eternity in mind.”
That Day is “step 1” in that process: engaging eyes and ears with the story of eternal rewards – it’s about why each of us is here living from Point A (birth) to Point B (judgment). It’s mission/purpose/destination. Once people start thinking about why they’re here, it’s time for the second question: What?!
Part 2 of That Day is Clean Slate – either a conversation, a live workshop, series of webinars, or even leader training on “what do I do with what I now know about where I’m headed?” Clean Slate dives into God’s order, the nature of work and accountability to God for that work, two sections on neuroscience for dummies, and a comprehensive workflow process that helps people develop a plan or roadmap between point a and b.
Part 3 is a deeper dive into “how” each individual’s time, treasure, and talents apply to walking that path from point A to point B. It’s where coaching and discipleship have always come into play. For nearly 10 years now, we’ve been focused on “thinking out loud” with others in one on one discipleship about their walk with Christ.
Spread the Word!
We’d love your help to move this forward – prayer, share, and support:
Prayer – Pray that God opens doors with those who’ve seen That Day and we’re invited to do more of this kind of engagement. Pray that Aarron continues to refine the story and tell it well.
Share – help us get as many eyes and ears on the That Day teaser video as possible. Share it on your social media channels.
Support – join Seasons of Life Ministries as a monthly partner and help bring That Day and Clean Slate to churches and organizations who value the alignment of vision, strategy, and execution and who want to make the right impact for God’s kingdom and glory. Setting up the next That Day Leader’s Lunch only costs us a few hundred dollars – maybe you’d like to help sponsor one? Click or tap here.
What’s Killing YOUR Productivity?
As more people come to me for advice on productivity, the most common issue I’m asked about is this:
“urgent things keep intruding on important things” a.k.a., “distractions & interruptions”
My best response is God’s response:
“Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds. (Prov. 27:23a)”
Not the answer you were looking for? I’ll elaborate…
Meet Your Sheep
You’ve got stuff to do… That’s your flock.
You may not have actual sheep like Solomon’s audience 2,500 years ago. But, you do have a flock of “P.R.I.O.R.” commitments: Projects, Responsibilities, Ideas, Opportunities, and Relationships. For these God will hold you accountable and reward you (2 Cor. 5:10). Therefore, “knowing the condition of your flocks and giving careful attention to your herds” is of critical importance to you.
Some translations even render this phrase “be diligent to know the state of your flocks”. So…
On a scale of 1 to 10, how diligent are you right now in knowing your state of flock?
Aarron Pina playing “Dan Matthewson” from the recent Dawsonville performance of “That Day”.
This year, Seasons of Life Ministries is on the road and praying big: praying God’s will is to reach 10,000 people with the idea of “living every day with eternity in mind”. So far, He’s helped us reach over 500 with that message, locally. In January, about 100 people clamored in to Holy Trinity Christian Church in Alpharetta for our first 2017 performance and another 500 at Christ Fellowship Dawsonville, GA the following weekend! As of last week, we’re gearing up for the next leg of Mission Trip, USA!
On April Fool’s Day, we’ll be at West Hills Christian Church for what may turn out to be an “open tech rehearsal” (opportunity for press and invited guests to preview the performance). Sunday, April 2nd, West Hills Christian Church has invited us to bring That Day to their Sunday service at 10AM!
I’d sure appreciate your prayers for a captivating and transformational performance. Pray big – Pastor Bill Requardt has planned this very special event two weeks before Easter in hopes of drawing hundreds of new and unchurched people to the cross on Resurrection Day.
If you know someone in the Bristol, Sevierville, or Kingsport, TN (or even the western Virginia area), please SHARE the That Day info with them so they can see the 90 second teaser video, invite some friends, and begin seeing every day from an eternal perspective!