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!
Wherever You Go, You Bring You with You… Moving from Cumming to Gainesville, I thought I might discover a whole crop of men with new problems to drag to the cross. Nope. Today, I have one foot regularly in Alpharetta/Cumming and the other in Flowery Branch/Gainesville. Totally different demographics, right? But, the issues men face are the same – integrity in the workplace, trusting God in an “uncertain” economy, purity vs. pornography, “quiet time guilt”, loving our wives as Christ loved the church, addiction, and on and on. Every guy I sit down breaths and bleeds further evidence that “no temptation has seized you except what is common to man. (1 Cor. 10:13)” While the issues are many, the solution remains singular – abiding in Christ.
“My job goes back and forth from being terribly frustrating to the most enjoyable calling on earth. I watch men, though grown physically, “grow up” in their faith as God challenges them, tests, them, stretches them by His power. Sometimes, they succeed, sometimes… they… grow. But, growing in faith resembles growing in muscle like this: without breaking and tearing the fibers, the muscles never increase in capacity. Some of these guys, like me, have had to be “wrecked” by circumstance and God’s hand of discipline in order to grow. But, I see growth in them – I see Christ in them. Praise God.
My Addiction: This year, I’ve had many opportunities to say “no” to new things that have come up. Odd, while many are looking for work, I have an abundance. But, not all work is paying work and not all that we’re paid for is what we’re supposed to be doing. Case in point – me. I’ve recently begun managing my workflow differently and in the process discovered I had too many commitments. Good had become the enemy of God. Underneath the many commitments I had made to do this, be that, go here was a horrible addiction that had ruined my productivity in some of the key areas God had called me to. I was addicted to the approval of men and progress.
With all the projects and subprojects I had going on, I had to dramatically improve my ability to say “no” to several “good things” in order to do the best I could at the “God things”. Now, this is a lesson I’ve been learning for several years now, but this summer was a major breakthrough and I’m witnessing clear productivity spikes as a result.
His Addiction I’m currently meeting with a guy who’s been battling an over the counter addiction and has been for over 7 years. He takes comfort in knowing that my addiction can be just as detrimental to my family as his can be to his, but knows that if God can sanctify me, He can do a great work in him, too. Watching this guy abide in Christ for 30 days, 60 days, and longer between relapses is remarkable. This week, it’s back to “day 7” again, but I can tell his prayer life and the one on one accountability of another Christian guy who has his back is a key component to his successes. Lasting life change is under way. Long term freedom is in the works.
The Solution: Abiding in Christ has always been the only solution to any problem. Drinking in the Word until people smell truth on your breath, receiving specific encouragement from men who know you well, accountability from godly men, and biblical comfort, rebuke and counsel are all elements that enhance our connection to Christ. More importantly, they help us plug back into the vine when we fall away. There is strength in numbers, especially when God + anyone = a majority.
Moving Forward – 2012 & the 2nd Half of our First Decade Wrapping up 2012 could look like this (unless God “calls an audible”): continued one on one discipleship, a step back from DivorceCare for a season (which is hard to step away from at a time when they’ve just updated all of their videos & curriculum!!!), leaning more heavily into a writing project involving interviews with over 50 men regarding their discipleship upbringing and/or their discipleship of the next generation.
Next year, we’re offering a half day workshop on “Getting Things Done God’s Way” and will follow God’s prompting down that trail as He leads. “That Day” should see a new stage here and there over the next two years at least, and thanks to a very generous donation, we’ll be exploring video media over 2013 & 14 in an attempt to reach more people with out compromising impact or relationship.
How to Pray for Seasons of Life: Most often, when a guy is caught in the middle of addiction, those whom he has betrayed – wife, family, co-workers, friends – absorb the wound of betrayal and become embittered against him. I would ask all of you to pray for this guy and every guy who struggles with addiction as God helps them and their wives to resist the temptation (trap) to turn against each other, rather to stay united in prayer against the addiction.
Pray for Seasons of Life as we do our best to stay out of God’s way and allow Him to grow, sustain, and use this ministry to impact the people and community around us. Pray for financial support as we’re in roughly the same place we are every year at this time – fully dependent on Him, praying for obedience, and making the need known.
Speed read: We’re shifting gears, taking steps to develop intensive family/leader training that makes discipleship so simple you’ll have no excuse but to start doing it. We have some financial resistance, but would like to make a mass appeal for immediate as well as long term support. – Oh, and until an iWeb problem is solved, our website cannot be updated. (So, keep your eyes on the blog, Twitter, and Facebook instead, for now.)
Changing Traffic Light: Last week, Cristine and I watched a movie called “Divided”. As we watched, God made very clear it was a flashing road sign we needed to obey, immediately. Written by Philip Leclerc, it shines painfully bright light on the fact that the body of Christ has made a tragic departure from the biblical model of family discipleship, leaning toward an outsourced model in a surprising place with terrible results – 80%+ teenagers are abandoning their faith by college.
The family has abdicated its most crucial role in God’s plan. A growing movement in discipleship training can turn this around.
The information in this documentary was so compelling and convicting to us, we immediately agreed that not only was something to be done about it, but that we are uniquely called to join the movement God has already initiated in turning the tide.In the coming months, I believe you’ll begin to hear stories on our blog (and Facebook) of men and women who are intentionally discipling their children and strategies for discipling your co-workers, children, and others around you.
This will require a commitment, accountability, and will be highly opposed by many local churches who have bought into a carnal, worldly model of discipleship. There. You’ve been warned. Rocky road and traffic ahead.
For the Road Ahead – This summer, we’ve experienced many great one-on-one, group, and couples discipleship moments, our own personal losses, a move to North Forsyth, and both some wild financial ups and sobering downs. The way forward will demand much of me as a husband, father, and discipler of men as well as an increased need for financial support from those who appreciate our calling and this ministry. Wild terrain will demand great tires…
Overall, some hard-knock financial surprises have Seasons of Life facing a $4,102 need for the month of August, but less than $21,500 for the remainder of the 2012 support year. If you’re considering some end of summer giving, or are already (wisely) reviewing and planning for year end or 2013 giving – one time support could use a big boost, effective immediately.
However, thanks to a boost in quarterly giving, we currently have a $500 matching gift to help raise some of the funds for August.
Until a glitch in Apple’s iWeb can be circumvented, our website will remain time frozen in June or July. So, in this post I’m including links that will help those who are called to support Seasons of Life.
If you’d like to join a few dozen faithful monthly supporters, click a below link to do so:
If you need a custom link for a dollar amount above, below, or between the listed amounts, email me here. Also, we highly recommend anyone consider using their bank’s online bill pay service (most often free for you and for us) and setting up a regular check to Seasons of Life Ministries, 2659 Freedom Pkwy., Suite 285, Cumming, GA 30041. Seasons of Life is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit and also can be supported through the National Christian Foundation.
Support Just for Now-
If you’d like to simply jump in with some one time support, click any of the following links and you’ll be taken to our secure online giving portal. Thanks, so much!!!