|Aarron Pina plays Dan Matthewson and 12 other
characters in the recent “That Day” production.
Seeing the Results
I love immediate feedback, don’t you? Do something, see the results. Measure the results, adjust for next time. Isn’t it great?
But, how do you feel when you can’t see the immediate payoff of your efforts? Me, too.
“That Day” is a one man show based on Tim Stevenson’s “The Bema: a Story About the Judgment Seat of Christ”, in which I get to play “Dan Matthewson” (also a pretty results oriented guy, btw), and over a dozen different characters who tell the story of a Dan’s story. It’s a wild, amazing jaw dropper as he gets to see the payoff of his efforts: eternal rewards at the judgment seat of Christ according to 2 Cor. 5:10.
Our latest presentation of this 2 hour look behind the curtains of heaven was live at Woodstock First Baptist Church’s “Warehouse”. Seating was set for about 80 people, but we wound up with an audience of over 100! It was received with rave reviews – there was laughter (more than we expected – hooray!), tears, and as we expected, a little elbowing between people as they witnessed the truths of the bible played out in a highly entertaining, thought provoking, and challenging parable.
|Dan Matthewson shares his regrets as he sees what
could have been his eternal rewards.
Delayed Gratification, but On Target Feedback
Ironically, we’re still waiting from some feedback from our cameraman who filmed the show, but we did get some still photos, which you see here in this post. As the video becomes available, we’ll post anything of high enough quality on our YouTube channel, to pass on a bit of the event’s flavor. However, our online feedback forms gave us a clear picture of the theological impact of the story:
- Most people, though they know the day is coming, have never really considered very seriously or frequently a) what the bema seat judgment will be like and b) how our abiding in Christ today impacts the eternal rewards we receive then.
- Everyone was encouraged by the fact that Christ longs to reward us for the things we do here in His power, for His kingdom, in His timing, and for His reasons.
- But, my favorite common feedback point is this: “I’m now far more mindful of how I treat the people around me and in seeking opportunities to follow God’s lead.”
Bam! Bullseye on that last one. That’s what we were hoping to hear. Glory to God.
|Kevin Swan nails an opening rendition of U2’s
“Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”
Husband and wife team Ryan and Crystal Casey got together with ex-boy band member Kevin Swan to add great musical punctuation to the performance. We’re thrilled with how the night went and are grateful to Echo Ministries for inviting us to put the production on.
Special thanks, also, to Jacob Burton for his invaluable assistance as Aarron’s production assistant throughout the rehearsal process, and to Jeff Johnson and Sunny Williams for giving us use of rehearsal space at Brown’s Bridge Community Church and North Point Community Church.
For information on how to bring a production of “That Day” to a church, retreat, or organization near you, sent email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at www.thatday.info!
My Mea Culpa
This year, I’ve had great opportunity to talk with men, reason through the scriptures, and pray about the difference between fault and responsibility. In hindsight, I’ve failed to communicate in many areas the great things happening at Seasons of Life. Please forgive me. It’s both my fault and my responsibility.
When you talk to people regularly about personal issues, sensitive matters, and their walk with Christ, you experience a tension between sharing what God is up to with the ministry (BIG NEWS! I can’t tell you about it, though…) and maintaining full confidentiality, therefore cultivating trust. Many of the men I’m locking arms with this season are experiencing breakthroughs in their faith, marriages, and careers. But, I must respect their privacy as I report from the field.
Some are experiencing new seasons – a season away from their children because of divorce, a season of their children being away from them while at school, a season of focus on a marriage after taking it for granted, reconciliation and rebuilding of trust after a fight, a loss, a betrayal, overcoming an addiction… etc. Today, I even got to have a great conversation with a guy about walking with God through the challenges of toxic relationships, maintaining godly standards, and boundaries in the home. God was honored and we both walked away sharper!
These are the vagueries that are “okay” to share publicly because they don’t break confidentiality. But, I want you to know – I get to hear some raw stuff from time to time… And, by God’s grace, I get to point these men back to scripture and watch them recalibrate when they see where they were out of alignment. Other times, it’s just about the basic blocking and tackling of the Christian life. Falling deeper in love with the Word of God and knowing more intimately the God of the Word. Life transformation is happening.
I also get to share some raw stuff about my own failures from time to time… And, I get to cheer them on when God brings a job their way after 18 months of unemployment… a godly relationship after years of “sorting through counterfeits”… Six weeks of deep and devoted regular quiet time… And, through it all, we’ve been able to trace God’s Providential hand at the helm and His grace sustaining it all.
The Way Forward
As Cristine and I step into our 7th year of public ministry, we’re seeing her schedule pick up again, potential dates for “That Day” performances on the horizon, and the continued vision of men, women, couples, and families abiding in Christ, surrendered to their Savior, and serving His kingdom daily. We continue to thank God for the work, the people He entrusts to our care, and the calling He’s placed on our lives. One thing is for sure: no matter what the years ahead have in store, He will continue to test our trust in Him just as much (or more) than those we urge to do the same.
For those of you who are praying for us and those who support this ministry financially, we want to thank you for all you do for the community you serve: the body of Christ and the Kingdom of God. Your prayers matter. You resources make it a reality.
We encourage you to engage with God’s work through us via our Facebook page, Twitter, and weekly on our blog. It is my prayer that after a year “deep in the trenches” with a select few, I am able to devote more time in 2014 to reconnecting with many of you I haven’t been able to make such time for.
If you find yourself in the “it’s been too long” category, email, text, or private message me… Or, go really old school and pick up the phone. I’ll do my best to have my 2014 calendar ready!
Executive Director, Seasons of Life Ministries, That Day, Speak Life, The Uprising
Every day, you’re faced with the decision to read, archive, or delete dozens to hundreds of emails. Today, I want to ask you to stick with this one for about four minutes. I’ve even got a special section for you if you’re out of town. Would you do that?
For six years now, Seasons of Life Ministries has answered God’s call to lock arms with Christ followers as they pursue deeper intimacy in Christ, primarily through one on one discipleship. If you’re unfamiliar with this ministry, the video below can give you some insight into what we do and why.
|For info, go to www.onethingathon.com.
My wife, Cristine, and I have been meeting with men, women, and couples to lift up the word of God as our sole source of wisdom, help, and counsel for these past 6 years and beyond. Many of them have chosen to support the ministry financially – they have “skin in the game”. Others just can’t. Some of them are deeply tied to a small group, seeking professional couseling as their insurance allows, but deeply need more or different than these avenues can provide.
As a result, we’ve essentially given away thousands of hours of bible based counseling, and delivered tens of thousands in donated food to working poor families, provided Gospel hope, healing, encouragement, and even rebuke to meet their needs as God leads.
Where You Come In
To continue the work we know God has called us to do, I’m asking you to commit to participating in an upcoming fundraiser. It’s called the “One Thing-a-thon” and it’s a walkathon that will benefit four local ministries including Seasons of Life.
Three Ways To Join Us
The event will require a good number of volunteers and if you’d like to just help out with the picnic, follow this link to find out about it and you’ll have all the information you need. But, the greatest need we have is donors, walkers, and leaders. Read below for a brief idea of how this works. For a more detailed “how to”, you can follow a link to this article on all the nuts and bolts of being a high octane volunteer.
- Donate: If you’re already a donor/supporter of Seasons of Life, you may just want to share this video with your friends or coworkers and invite them to sponsor me either per mile or make a flat donation on behalf of Seasons of Life. Or, you might just volunteer at Fowler Park for the picnic that day. At www.onethingathon.com you’ll find the “Purpose and Goals” video explaining the event and its potential impact, as well as all the tools you need to volunteer, sign up, and even give online. This is a great way to help even if you live out of town or state!
- Walk: If you’re already a regular supporter of SOLM or just feeling frisky, I’d like to invite you to strap on your shoes and hit the road as a walker/runner/stroller on our behalf, OR…
- Lead: Some of you, however, are both gifted at leadership and have a heart for discipleship/Seasons of Life. I’d invite you to consider being a team leader, leading a team of other runners/walkers, and recruiting them to help support this ministry.
We’ve been advised this event could raise $30,000 for Seasons of Life – that’s about half our operating need for 2014. A day like that would literally “buy” me an average of ten hours a month to meet with more men, develop and deliver content for our blog and other social media, and prepare to deliver “That Day” presentations to several churches and organizations throughout 2014 and beyond.
Would you commit to looking over this material and letting me know how I can count on you this month?
What We’ve Been Up To:
Over the past several years, Seasons of Life has provided discipleship to men, women, and couples regardless of their financial status. In many cases, we have essentially “given away” tens of thousands of dollars in bible based counseling to people who both needed it and couldn’t afford it.
Thanks to the incredible training we’ve received over the years from organizations and individuals from North Point Community Church to BTCP to Elijah House to Free Chapel’s “School of Discipleship” to Jesus Spoken Here, we’ve been able to lock arms with men and women who truly desire deeper intimacy with Christ and walk with them through the various trials and seasons God has laid out for them.
Today, I’m asking for your help to meet two needs – one with a November 5th deadline and the other on November 23rd.
The “Now” Need Our current need for all October ministry expenses is a bit over $4,000. Not so bad, considering that’s needed by November 5th, and we have a little more than $1,000 in matching funds available to get there. Every little bit, big chunk, and ridiculously huge bit counts. To help meet this need in the next 6-7 days, simply click here or go to our support page at www.seasonsoflifeministries.org/support and designate your gift using the drop down menu or follow directions there for check giving and our mailing address. Yes, all donations are tax deductible as permitted by IRS section 501(c)3.
Next year, we anticipate “giving away” hundreds more hours of biblical counseling to dozens of men, women, and couples, caring for the needs of the working poor in our sphere of influence, and exhorting/encouraging believers forward into a more mature faith. The support of those who give sacrificially to this ministry are absolutely essential to making that happen. A large scale fundraising opportunity has come up that could make next year’s efforts possible in just one day. Here’s where you come in:
Awareness and Opportunity…
The “Later” Need: “One Thing-a-thon”
This event will happen on November 23rd. Now, this is a really cool opportunity for those who may not have a whole lot of giving capacity at this time: One Th1ng, a local ministry that spurs men on in their walk with God is sponsoring a picnic and walkathon called “One Thing-a-Thon” on November 23rd to raise support and awareness for four local ministries, including Seasons of Life Ministries! Watch the video below as Kirby Wisler explains 3 ways you can help out…
What To Do:
Today, I’m inviting you to consider supporting Seasons of Life Ministries and all we’ve been called to do by:
- Join us as a runner: invite people around you to sponsor you by the mile or for the walk
- Be a “recruiter”: share this video with people close to you invite them to sponsor me as I walk/run 10 miles that morning.
- Sponsor me (I’ll be walk/running 10 miles) as a corporate sponsor or individual donor for $1, $10, or even $100 a mile or give a flat donation for the day.
As always, thank you, for your readership, prayers, and support!