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The Two Days You and I Can’t Avoid

“There are only two certainties in this life – death and taxes.” Today, we get to talk about both. 

Day 1 – Taxes…
     If you’re planning to support Seasons of Life Ministries this year, you’ve got until Monday, December 31st to either get it post marked or give online. Anything after that and the IRS requires us to count it for 2013. The rest is in your hands.
    As of today, we’re only about $4,000 away from a “clean ending” for 2012. We have about $1,500 in matching funds still available to help meet that goal. So, if you’re planning to give, now’s a time when anything you give will make twice the impact.

     Helping us meet our support needs will ensure we continue supporting about a dozen families in the “working poor” and poor class that receive food delivery either weekly or monthly. You’ll also help support the many men I have the honor of walking with as a spiritual director. This year, our focus begins to shift from building up many of these men to guiding them as they begin discipling other men.

What to Do About This Day:
     Partner with us now. We’re praying for new quarterly partners at $125, $250, and $500 per quarter. If we reach our need of 16 of these, “Support” updates will likely become a thing of the past on our blog, giving me back a lot of time that can be more deeply invested in the men in my pastoral/discipleship care. Whatever you do, whether $20 a month or $2,000 this week, get it in the mail by Monday afternoon or online by that night. To send it to us, use our secure address at 2659 Freedom Parkway, Suite 285, Cumming, GA 30041.

     To give online using our secure online portal, use any of the following links:
Monthly
   $25 Monthly, $40 Monthly, $50 Monthly, $100 Monthly, $200 Monthly,  
or: 
One Time Gift
   $2,000 One Time, $1,000 One Time, $500 One Time, $250 One Time, $100 One Time, $50 One Time.

Day 2 – Death…

2 Cor. 5:10 “That Day”
     Dan Matthewson is a high powered software sales guy. Top in his class, top in the firm, being groomed for partner. Gorgeous wife, model children. Placed his faith in Christ as a young teenager. He’s got it going on.

But, he’s dying inside.

     This year, you may have a chance to hear Dan’s story. He, like you and I, doesn’t get out of here alive. Like you and I, he will stand before the judgment seat of Christ to be rewarded for the things he did for God’s kingdom and in God’s power and timing. He doesn’t realize he’s headed for a fiscal cliff that will last much longer than the US economy.

     That Day is an interactive, two-act, one man show that uses about a dozen characters to tell the story of what it will look like when Dan, and by extension you and I, may witness the day Christ calls us to account for all we’ve done here on earth. It’s funny, unnerving, engaging, and loaded as Bill Ibsen says “with more truth than a sermon and it all flies under the radar until after you’ve seen it.” This production has already impacted over 500 people in the metro Atlanta area and this year, we’re already being sought out for new performances that will more than double that.

Participants at a “That Day” event react to what they’ve just seen and
discuss “table questions” and scripture related to the topic.

What to Do About “That Day”:
     Keep your eyes on our Facebook page, the blog, or www.thatday.info. As soon as new dates are announced, you’ll hear about them first. But, read and pray about the judgment seat and consider the letters to the churches in Revelation 2 & 3. Start and continue conversations in your church, organization, or small group about “eternal rewards” and the role grace has in our salvation but works has in our rewards. Pray for wisdom and revelation about how eternity impacts today and vice versa. And, when new dates are announced, get your tickets right away. Who wants to be one of those people who couldn’t get tickets last minute like the last time?

Merry Christmas Season and Happy New Year!

AP

Update Account Information   

Be a Hero (at Least in Our Eyes)

 Unlikely Heroes:
     Last year, a handful of people wrote year end giving checks and made online donations that saved the day. They had no idea that they’d be the difference between Seasons of Life starting our 5th year in ministry at a stable walk rather than a wobbly limp. It’s that time again. Care to be a year end hero?
  
The Numbers:
     To finish the year “with the wheels safely on the runway”, all that’s left to raise is about $8,317, with just under $2,000 in matching funds available to reach that milestone. Immediate need (due by 12.15.2012) is about $2,900. [Update: 12.28.2012 – <$4,000 to go with a little over $1,000 in matching funds]

     For next year, our prayer is that some of you who’ve been sometimes givers will join us in regular monthly support. We’d love to see us pull closer to 70-80% funded. Obviously, while we’re praying for that, we’re also on our knees asking God to bridge the gap between December 15th and December 31st. I cordially invite you to consider us n your giving as the year closes out.

Dan’s Story
     For the past few weeks I’ve been meeting with “Dan” (not his real name). Dan’s in the middle of what he believes may be a divorce – her resolve to pursue the divorce is uncertain. He admits a lot of his hand in the marriage breakdown and that his faith has been tested by all this. Talking to him, I got a very clear picture that his church experience has been a culture of “performance” where he’s done a lot of “Jesus stuff”, but never been actively discipled in experiencing Christ and walking closely with Him. He’s even been taught a few lies about marriage and never had a chance to confront and debunk them.

     Dan’s one of those guys that John Woodall calls “dying on the vine”. But, at least he knows Who the vine is, right? As we’ve been talking, I can see thin, but heavy layers of hopelessness lifting off his shoulders. Talk of repentance, apology, and forgiveness surfaces when truth meets transparency. Only time and prayer will tell what the future holds for Dan. But, I’m honored to walk with him through this season of life, indeed the most challenging holiday season he’s ever faced.

     Many of the men and women we meet with are active supporters of Seasons of Life. But, for every one of them, there’s a Dan out there who can’t yet afford to support because of this kind of financial hardship. Your support “buys us” the time to meet with a guy like Dan. Thank you, from us and from Dan.

Why Now is Important
     Many non-profits, ministries, and churches rely on year end giving to catch up on support from earlier in the year and to prepare for a solid start for the year to come. In addition, the availability of just under $2,000 in year end matching funds means your giving is doubled up to the $2,000 mark. Your $25 brings us $50, your $100 brings us $200, etc. These matching funds are only available for giving up to the end of December.  

5 Ways You Can Support:
   1) Pledge: Contact us to let us know if you’re planning to support and we’ll guide you through the process.
   2) Support online or by check (details below) at any level.
   3) Consider Seasons of Life in your 2013, 2014, and/or 2015 giving & let us know as the Lord leads.
   4) Invite your small group or coworkers to join in “liking” us on Facebook or following our blog or start a pool in your group or office to help push us over the top.
   5) Pray, pray, pray. That’s a gift we always appreciate.

To Support Online Using our Secure Online Giving Portal:
Monthly Support:

One Time Support:

To support by check, make your check payable to Seasons of Life Ministries and mail to:
Seasons of Life Ministries
2659 Freedom Parkway
Suite 285
Cumming, GA 30041

Thanks, as always!

in Christ,

AP

Year End Support Update – November 2012

The Not-So-Hard, but Fast Numbers:
     To finish the year even, all that’s left to raise is about $11,400, with about $3,200 in matching funds available to reach that milestone. Immediate need (due by 11.30.2012) is about $4,900.

    Last week , we received donations of $150, $150, $100, $200, and $22. I’m not sure which we were more thankful for… How about “all of the above”? I mention this example to let some of you know, it’s all appreciated – every dime that God has provided has been appreciated. Thank you, one and all.

Dan’s Story
     For the past few weeks I’ve been meeting with “Dan” (not his real name). Dan’s in the middle of what he believes may be a divorce – her resolve to pursue the divorce is uncertain. He admits a lot of his hand in the marriage breakdown and that his faith has been tested by all this. Talking to him, I got a very clear picture that his church experience has been a culture of “performance” where he’s done a lot of “Jesus stuff”, but never been actively discipled in experiencing Christ and walking closely with Him. He’s even been taught a few lies about marriage and never had a chance to confront and debunk them.

     As we’ve been talking, I can see thin, but heavy layers of hopelessness lifting off his shoulders. Talk of repentance, apology, and forgiveness surfaces when truth meets transparency. Only time and prayer will tell what the future holds for Dan. But, I’m honored to walk with him through this season of life, indeed the most challenging holiday season he’s ever faced.

     Many of the men and women we meet with are active supporters of Seasons of Life. But, for every one of them, there’s a Dan out there who can’t yet afford to support because of this kind of financial hardship. Your support “buys us” the time to meet with a guy like Dan. Thank you, from us and from Dan.

Why Now is Important
     Many non-profits, ministries, and churches rely on year end giving to catch up on support from earlier in the year and to prepare for a solid start for the year to come. In addition, the availability of over $3,000 in year end matching funds means your giving is doubled up to the $3,000 mark. Your $25 brings us $50, your $100 brings us $200, etc. These matching funds are only available for giving up to the end of December.  

5 Ways You Can Support:
   1) Pledge: Contact us to let us know if you’re planning to support and we’ll guide you through the process.
   2) Support online or by check (details below) at any level.
   3) Consider Seasons of Life in your 2013, 2014, and/or 2015 giving & let us know as the Lord leads.
   4) Invite your small group or coworkers to join in “liking” us on Facebook or following our blog or start a pool in your group or office to help push us over the top.
   5) Pray, pray, pray. That’s a gift we always appreciate.

To Support Online Using our Secure Online Giving Portal:
Monthly Support:

One Time Support:

To support by check, make your check payable to Seasons of Life Ministries and mail to:
Seasons of Life Ministries
2659 Freedom Parkway
Suite 285
Cumming, GA 30041

Thanks, as always!

in Christ,

AP

Year End Support Update – 2012

Short and Sweet:
     Straight to the point, here’s where we’re at. Ahead of years past, but still playing “catch up”, a little bit “short”, but so little it’s “sweet”. Praise God.

The Not-So-Hard, but Fast Numbers:
     $850 in support needed by tomorrow (11.16.2012) in pledges or actual receipts with about $250 in matching funds available for that period. Praise God. To finish the year even, all that’s left to raise is about $11,700, with about $3,500 in matching funds available to reach that milestone.

     Yesterday, we received donations of $100, $200, and $22. I’m not sure which we were more thankful for… How about “all of the above”? I mention this example to let some of you know, it’s all appreciated – every dime that God has provided has been appreciated.

     Don’t make the mistake I did a few years ago when a friend of mine told me his ministry had s $40,000 shortfall in October – I didn’t give anything because I thought “I can’t make a difference in that big a deficit.” I missed out on helping him. Don’t be fooled like I was. Mike would have appreciated my $22 as much as we appreciated this week’s $22.

Here’s how you can jump in:
   1) Pledge: Contact us to let us know if you’re planning to support.
   2) Support online or by check (details below) at any level.
   3) Consider Seasons of Life in your 2013, 2014, and/or 2015 giving & let us know as the Lord leads.
   4) Invite your small group or coworkers to join in “liking” us on Facebook or following our blog or start a pool in your group or office to help push us over the top.
   5) Pray, pray, pray. That’s a gift we always appreciate.

To Support Online Using our Secure Online Giving Portal:
Monthly Support:

One Time Support:

To support by check, make your check payable to Seasons of Life Ministries and mail to:
Seasons of Life Ministries
2659 Freedom Parkway
Suite 285
Cumming, GA 30041

Thanks, as always!

in Christ,

AP

4 Ways to Build a Strong Bridge Cheap and Fast

Ten Years Ago
     For about the past ten years, Cristine and I have been in discipleship ministry in some way or another. It wasn’t until about 7 years ago we began hearing God’s call to “full time” vocational ministry. Several wise friends of mine have taught us that “men and women who walk with Jesus walk with men and women who walk with Jesus”. It was 5 years ago this month that we heard God and the wise counsel around us say “you should do that full time”. So today, as then, we help followers of Christ bridge the gaps between “real life” situations and applied biblical truth.

Now…
     For the past 5 years, Seasons of Life Ministries has been a true “walk of faith” for me and my family. It’s a strange animal – you never know if you’re getting 100% of your paycheck or 20% of your paycheck. God has answered all of our prayers, sometimes with a “Yes”, other times with a “No”, still others with “Not Yet”. But, what He has given us, through the support of some amazing givers from $10,000 a year down to $20 a month is this: 100% of what He intended us to have. Wow.

     All that remains to land 2012 “on target” is about $14,500. That may seem like a large number, but I can tell you three things about that –

  1. That’s over 30% less than what God has raised for those two months over the last 5 years.
  2. This year, we’ve got roughly $5,000 in matching funds committed so far toward reaching that goal, so any giving done from this point forward counts double up to $5K.
  3. As in every year past: “many hands make light work”.

The “Brutal Facts of Reality
    Every month, we start out an average of $3,000 in the hole as a ministry. Call that a small gap or a canyon. You may be right. Call it foolish. You may be right. Call it “trusting God” you may be right. Bottom line, He has provided all He’s wanted for us for 59 months in a row, not for our glory, but for His. Over $250,000 has been raised over these 5 years – a lean $50K a year to run the entire operation. But, God has been faithful to His promises and built bridges of provision for this ministry.

Why Matching Funds are So Important
      Matching gifts have helped us achieve that. Matching funds make Seasons of Life a wise place to do giving beyond the tithe. It’s like building a bridge but having one side of the canyon come closer to what you’re building. When I know a dollar that I give to a local or foreign mission is going to be matched with another dollar for free, I don’t have to think long or hard about the return on investment – the match makes my giving go farther. How about you?

So, what can you do?

1. Get/Keep Your Toe In ’til You’re Ready for Deeper Waters
     Many of our supporters started giving something “small” and eventually increased. Others, started “small” and stayed there. If you wade in right now as a monthly supporter “cheaply”, your giving will count double for November and December because of the matching gift. This is a big deal for you, because you may only have $25 available for sacrificial giving this month – but it brings us $50 closer to meeting the urgent need at hand. (See links at the bottom if you care to do this through our secure online giving portal).

     Some of our supporters tithe a percentage to their own church and give proportionally to other ministries as well – have you considered Seasons of Life as a percentage for 2013? Now might be a great time to give it a try. What would it look like if you gave 10% to your home church, 1% to Samaritan’s Purse, 1% to foreign missionaries, and 1% to a local ministry like Seasons of Life?

2. Delegate Socially. (And, What Does That Mean?)
     General Contractors hire people who swing hammers, hang drywall, paint and finish so they don’t have to. Delegation. The most pivotal financial “shot in the arm” God gave this ministry in our first year was through a friend who invited her small group and neighbors over for dessert, to have Cristine and I share the story of how God called us to one on one discipleship ministry. That one friend delegated fundraising to her friends and in one afternoon, God breathed over $300 in regular monthly support and $1,200 in one-time help into Seasons of Life Ministries! Social delegation.

     With social media at your fingertips all you have to do to delegate fundraising to others is click “share”. Wow. Could it be more simple? Consider your small group, church, or family & friends:

  • Invite them to subscribe to our newsletter by texting 42828 to “SEASONS”, 
  • Send them a link to our blog (where you’re reading this now), or 
  • Encourage them to follow or “like” us on Facebook or Twitter
  • Invite one of us to share our story at your small group (we’ll even bring dessert!)

     Share any of the links above with people you know and you may turn out to be one of our cornerstone supporters without a dime out of your own pocket! (Or, just go ahead and send us a dime and call it a day? Who knows!)
    
Online Form – Constant Contact List Signup
3. Be a “Heavy Lifter” or Tell One About Us
     No “selling” required: If you have the capacity to give or know someone who does (which, you almost never know until you ask: “Hey, what ministries, churches, and non-profits do you support?”), forward them a link to this blog post and let them convince themselves.

4. Pray for Us
     Hey, prayer only costs time and energy and if you’re out of work, struggling to get by, or just fully committed on your current giving priorities, even you can lift up this ministry in prayer. Incidentally, if you’re in one of those first two categories, email us and we may have some help for you!

Bridge, Meet Sides; Rubber, Meet Road:
     Whatever your current or projected-year-end giving capacity is, we’d love your help as soon as you feel prompted and sure this is where the Lord wants you do give. Below are some links for immediate online giving. FYI – The only immediate needs for November are about $1,800 for expenses due by the 15th of the month. Can you help bridge the gap?
 

For getting your toe in the water:

For heavy lifters

For others – email or private message us on FB if you’re in a position to help in any other way at this time.

FINE PRINT: Seasons of Life Ministries is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization according to IRS tax codes and all gifts are tax deductible to that effect. [Year end giving must be postmarked by Dec. 31st, 2012 or done online by midnight of Dec. 31st 2012.]
To give offline, make your check payable to Seasons of Life Ministries and send it to us at:
     2659 Freedom Pkwy.
     Suite 285
     Cumming, GA 30041

Thanks, for reading, considering, giving, praying, and helping us to build bridges…

in Christ,

AP