I’m Confused, What Happened?!
Here’s a quick ministry update for you. Many of you may be seeing what God’s up to with us this year and wondering why, considering what happened last fall.
Let me clear up the confusion:
In September, 2015, following a major case of tunnel vision on my part, both Cristine and I were buried in stress, so we called a round table together to ask some prayed-up outsiders their feedback on the tension we were experiencing.
They listened prayerfully and replied as lovingly and bluntly as we’d asked. Their conclusions were:
- “You’ve been faithful with the calling God had given you.”
- “You AND your wife are clearly exhausted.” and
- “Now is the time for you to lay this ministry down and pursue a full time job to bring stability to our financial situation.”
I felt like Abraham being asked to lay his son, Isaac, on the altar as a sacrifice. With deep grief, I obeyed their counsel. (more…)
That Day is an amazing, modern day parable about a man who comes before Christ to receive rewards for what he did with his life. (This is the “believer’s judgment” or “bema” as opposed to the “White Throne” judgment.)
The most poignant response I get from people who have seen this story is this: “I didn’t really have such a clear picture of what eternal rewards could look like.” Suddenly, they’ve magnified this simple truth: “I am called and accountable.” The next question that typically comes up is – “now, how do I minimize my losses and maximize the gains for Christ?”
Clean Slate is where we help tease out those ideas and bring clear, biblical thinking to bear on the day to day “to do” along the way. www.zeroinbox.org
This April, we’re excited to present two That Day performances at Greater Heights Baptist Church, here in West Forsyth, on Saturday, April 16th at 7PM and the Sunday morning 11AM service on the 17th. Following that, we will be presenting our Clean Slate – Gospel Driven Productivity workshop for staff and volunteers at the church. With some favor from God and GHBC, we may have room for a few invite only guests. Inbox me for details!
In the meantime, SAVE THE DATE, register for free seats, and keep us in prayer!
I look forward to seeing you on That Day!
Last year, Seasons of Life Ministries celebrated 8 years as a public ministry. We faced some of the toughest work in many years: many marriages in great distress, conflicts within regarding short term application of the long term vision, and financial challenges that made us wonder if 2016 would see us walking away from this mission altogether.
In September, we sought outside counsel from an impartial roundtable of “prayed up” believers. Cristine and I presented the ministry’s predicament with all the brutal facts of its then current reality, including the painful 25-30% funding status. Their unanimous responses:
- You two are exhausted.
- You’ve been faithful with what you’ve been given.
- It’s time to bless your family with a steady paycheck.
So, we followed their counsel, sending out Aarron’s resume, interviewing, praying, listening, waiting on God to use someone or some company to bring clarity and peace. Instead, we received a job offer that created nothing but turmoil when it was discussed. We’re so smart it only took us two weeks to figure out it was not only not a God opportunity, it wasn’t even a good opportunity. In the midst of this, we got an invite to present That Day at a church here in Alpharetta. By November, we had presented the best performance yet of our best script yet to a sold out crowd of nearly 300!!! Amazing!
Following this, Aarron picked up some part time work at a local store a mere few minutes away from home and we moved forward as prayerfully and patiently as possible, discipling a limited book of clients, shifting most of them to virtual meetings, reaching out to a very small handful of couples still in distress, and waiting for God’s next move.
In the meantime, we’ve seen a handful of men and women that were in troubled marriages actually walk out the biblical advice we were able to cover with them and appear to be rebuilding their marriages God’s way. Others will still need a whole lot more prayer, because this kind of turnaround doesn’t happen overnight.
After a review of the books at year end, we discovered the numbers we’d given the September roundtable were way off… By year end, God had used dozens of people, families, etc. to fund this ministry to well over 80% of its need. Armed with that information, Aarron began reaching out to his network of contacts with a much clearer vision of what God may be doing with this ministry:
“leading men, women, and couples to overcome barriers to intimacy with Christ”; this time, with greater alignment between vision and strategy.
In a nutshell, we hope with God’s help, to:
- engage the eyes and ears our broadest audiences with our shorter, “That Day” script;
- translate those to hearts and minds with our Clean Slate (Gospel Driven Productivity Workshop);
- encourage hands and feet through one on one discipleship and coaching from there.
To that end, we begin a pair of That Day performances on April 16th and 17th that will lead to a three week Clean Slate Workshop series at Greater Heights Baptist Church, here in Cumming. To join us at either, go to www.thatday.info.
We’ll need all available help to make this happen; so, if you feel like you’re particularly gifted with marketing, social media, or just good-old-fashioned prayer, we’d love to invite you to be part of our street team. To lend a heart, hand, or lips, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If your gift is giving, we’d like you to know the most challenging months for this ministry are typically May, June, August, and November. So, if you’re a strategic giver – join us anytime, but keep those specific times in mind and prayer. This month, I’d encourage you to pray God keeps us on track with all we have ahead and that He raises up 3 new regular monthly supporters at $50 and $100 each.
Keep our Stay in the Word community in prayer, as well. Though we haven’t been wildly promoting the app, we’re approaching 50-100 users between IOS and Android combined. If you don’t yet have the app, check out what the buzz is all about!
As always, thanks for your prayers, “shares”, and encouragement!
Aarron & Cristine Pina
Ever Felt Overwhelmed?
Ten years ago, I got a job promotion. Sounds good, right? But, without an immediate replacement for my old position, I found myself responsible for both my new job and my old job… for almost 4 months!
In very short order, I started experiencing burnout. All the while, I was being told “work smarter, not harder” by several well meaning colleagues. But, when I asked them “what’s that look like”? No one had any definitive answers that I could immediately put to work. Besides being frustrated, I felt like the light at the end of the tunnel was getting dimmer the harder I worked.
After a ton of fervent prayer, God brought to my attention a book by a secular author outlining what appeared to be completely secular ideas and practices. I would later learn he hadn’t taught me anything that God hadn’t already thought of first. Once I understood this framework, I was able to process (not merely “delete”) over 4,500 emails and make a respectable dent in my swelling in basket… in just 72 hours.
I got to share a little of this story with Ministry Ventures’ “Leader Infusion Podcast” last quarter. You can listen to it here.
God has never given us work to do without the perspective needed to accomplish it. Productivity is woven throughout the scriptures, believe it or not, and an experienced guide can help you pick up that trail, if you’re willing to watch and listen. We call it “Clean Slate”. We’ve designed a full day workshop to help men, women, and organizations rethink their work from God’s perspective and remove as many barriers to “productivity” as possible. Stage 1 of engaging with is like “Clean Slate Lite” – a free, introductory webinar that serves as a first step on the road to freedom from overwhelm.
If you’re overcommitted, overwhelmed, or just plain “over it”, carve some time out on Wednesday afternoon, August 12th and attend our introductory webinar “5 Steps to End an Inbox Crisis”. My friend, Don, attended our workshop last year and regularly reminds me how we worked together to get him from thousands of emails in his inbox to “done” in just 5 days. A ministry leader friend who attended our last webinar reminds me that if people actually do what we’re teaching, there’s no reason why they can’t catch up and get ahead when it comes to “to do”.
I hope to see you or someone you love on our upcoming webinar and look forward to helping you do what God designed you to do, further, faster, with greater impact.
- To attend the webinar, click here and register. We’ll handle the rest.
- To spread the word on the webinar, click here to watch & share our video.
Lately, I’ve focused all of my time either on one on one discipleship, couples discipleship, and teaching Gospel Driven Productivity to groups and individuals. In other words, little or no blogging on the topic. We believe Jesus died not only to set us free from sin and death, but also that we may live free, focused, and fruitfully in Christ instead of walking blindly, foolishly, and unproductive in the flesh (see Ephesians 4:22-24, Gal. 5:13, 2 Peter 1:8). This doesn’t guarantee a wrinkle free life devoid of calamity, suffering and distraction in the now. But, it can make the recovery from latter a lot smoother and the (eternal) reward a whole lot fuller. We call it living from a Clean Slate.
As August, 2015 rolls around, we plan to dedicate more time to leaving you a “paper trail” of help: articles to help you dig out of overwhelm and keep you focused on what matters most. Keep your eyes here and we’ll do our level best to regularly push out clear, relevant articles designed to help you develop a Christ centered “distraction recovery plan”.
Boyd Bailey (Wisdom Hunters) and his organization, Ministry Ventures, have been a huge help to Seasons of Life Ministries over the years. Whether you’re an entrepreneur in the for profit sector or a ministry or non-profit leader, MV has a clear, simple set of best practices that can help you go further, faster. (Sounds a little like Clean Slate living, right?) While Boyd and his team are incredibly wise when it comes to organizational leadership, their success is firmly grounded in the wisdom of God. For this reason, I’m leaving a link at the bottom of the post for the Wisdom Hunters Daily Devotional. If you’re not already subscribed to it, don’t leave this post without clicking that link.
Last quarter, I had the opportunity to sit down with Beth Bennett, Director of Coaching for Ministry Ventures and discuss some of the basics of developing a “comprehensive theology of productivity”, that is… living life from a Clean Slate. Here’s a link to their podcast. http://ow.ly/Qe846
For more on our next Clean Slate Webinar, workshops, or coaching, click above or go to zeroinbox.org.
Grace and peace of Christ and subsequently, a Clean Slate.