Thursday, December 28, 2017
... $7500 YEAR-END DONATION RECEIVED!!
... $75,000 RAISED IN 1 MONTH!!
... (Only $25k to go by Jan 31st!)
A VERY GENEROUS local charitable foundation has made a $7500 year-end donation to GTD!!!
WOW! I will say it again, WOW! I will say it backwards, WOW!
We are humbly overjoyed. We are in uncharted territory. This is $10k more than we've ever raised. It's not only an overwhelming show of support from our Ministry Family, but an indisputable display of strong support by the very hand of God. I can't quite describe how that fact alone profoundly impacts us. Deep humility. Overflowing joy. Quiet abounding confidence. Exuberant invigoration. The list goes on.
This has been an epic David & Goliath type of year. The first half of 2017 was a sucker punch to the gut followed by an upper-cut to the jaw from Goliath sized set-backs. We were knocked down, but not knocked out. This kind of fight only ends with a tap-out or death. We wouldn't tap-out. We wouldn't die. We kept rising back up and fighting back. I had been here before so I could draw from experience and a developed faith that was up for the fight. But I was physically worn out. Laurie was exhausted & burned out. But still we fought on. I sought God for His intervention and rescue. There's an old saying that goes like this, "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime." I was seeking God for a fish. He was more interested in teaching me a life lesson. His lesson to me, "You are a winner, but you're not a champion. You have the discipline of a winner, but you don't have the discipline of a champion." That truth changed my life. That truth set me free. From that moment (at the beginning of last summer) I've wholeheartedly obeyed His instructions to me. I've been on an amazing journey of developing a champion's level of discipline. I'm not completely there yet, but I'm "approaching the green" (to use a golf metaphor). It's not an overbearing "military dad" type of discipline. It's a life-producing, life-preserving wise discipline. It's not boring at all. In fact, I can't stop talking about it.
So what does that have to do with fundraising? Nothing. And EVERYTHING. When our hearts are completely God's, He strongly supports us.
The year is ending much differently than it began. Goliath has been slayed. Our mourning has been changed to dancing. Our exhaustion has been changed to exhilaration. Our heavy hearts now freely rejoice. This has been a comeback story that will forever change the trajectory of this ministry and our very lives. We have so many people to thank... people who never gave up on us... people who saw the need and took the initiative. God used you to strongly support this ministry and us. We praise God for Him. And we praise God for YOU!
THANK YOU SO MUCH!! GOD BLESS YOU!
"For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His." - 2 Chronicles 16:9
Wednesday, December 27, 2017
THE KEY TO VICTORY IS TO "PUMMEL YOUR BODY"!
(AKA: Self Discipline; Self Control)
Are you on pace to win the race? Are you going to take first place?
Second place? Third? Last?
Are you running in such a way as to win the prize?
Or, like so many people, are you running aimlessly in life? Are you wildly throwing punches at your opposition that are easily dodged? Are your upper-cuts ineffective whiffs... an energy wasting swing and a miss??
While your expensive entry fee into the race (salvation) is a free gift offered from God through faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross, the outcome of the race - how you compete, enjoy, and ultimately finish - is completely up to YOU!
That's not pride. That's God's design from the beginning to the end of the Bible. HE puts the emphasis squarely on YOU. In fact, He eventually judges YOU based on YOUR DECISIONS. We won't be able to point the finger at God at the end of the race and blame Him for our lifetime of choices.
Don't blame God if you're losing the race because you're not implementing the resources, tools, and strategies He has generously provided for your success.
Don't blame God if you let fear, pain, hurt, & disappointments keep you on the sidelines instead of getting out on the field.
Don't blame God if you spend your whole life chasing things that don't matter.
Don't blame God for shallow perspectives, cliches, and half truths that keep you stuck in life ("Whatever will be will be.", "Everything happens for a reason.", "If it's meant to be, it will be.") when He provides wisdom & truth that can set you free and usher in fullness of life.
Don't blame God for outcomes that He has delegated to you.
Don't blame God for messes that you made.
Don't blame God for things that you're reaping from what you've been sowing.
Too many Christians don't realize that so much of the victory that God makes available lies within our God given capacity to choose. To choose to pray. To choose to seek. To choose knock. To choose to ask. To choose to rely on the Holy Spirit. To choose to flee temptation. To choose to forgive. To choose to love. To choose to overcome. To choose to tear down idols. To choose to be thankful. To choose to eat unhealthy foods. To choose to work hard as unto the Lord. To choose to persevere. To choose to rest. To choose to learn. To choose to read. To choose to strive. To choose to workout. To choose to prioritize. To choose to stay stuck. To choose bad relationships. To choose bad influences as friends. To choose another 10 minutes in bed or to choose the discipline to get up. It's all a choice!
The very first gift God gave man was the freedom of choice... To pull from sources that bring life or sources that bring death.
God gave instructions, clarity, and discernment, but He delegated the actual freedom of choice to each person.
And He gave us a litmus test to distinguish good choices from bad choices - FRUIT. What does my decision produce? WHAT'S THE FRUIT? Decay? Withering? Confusion? Unnecessary suffering? Destruction? Premature Death? More fat? Less cardio endurance? More stress? Dehydration? STD's? Emptiness? Well then you may want to change your choices to bring about different results.
Good Godly choices bear life-giving, life-producing FRUIT. It's delicious! You get to eat of it and others do too.
That's part of the benefits of winning your race - FULLNESS OF LIFE!!
But, in order to win, you have to choose self control & self discipline. The literal Greek translation is that you have to PUMMEL YOUR BODY & MAKE IT YOUR SLAVE. God gives out race entries (salvation) for free, but He doesn't give out participation trophies. You've got to earn the gold medal. You get one lifetime to do it in. Discipline, discipline, discipline. It's not your enemy; it's one of your BEST FRIENDS!
The current catch phrase is, "adulting". You've got to grow up. Your parents may have let you down by trying to be your buddy instead of teaching you self control and self discipline, but that doesn't let you off the hook. There are many great ways to develop healthy life-producing self discipline. That's part of the fruit of the Spirit so God is already eager to develop it in you. You just need to lean into Him.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (ESV)
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control*, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
*1 Corinthians 9:27 (literal Greek translation): I pummel my body and make it a slave
STRiVE to THRiVE!
Friday, December 22, 2017
Thank you so much Tina for these surprise custom made gifts we received in the mail - personalized GTD snowglobe Christmas tree ornaments!!! THEY'RE AWESOME!! WE LOVE THEM!!! This will only make setting up the Christmas tree each year more special! We love you! Merry CHRISTmas to you and your family!!
Thursday, December 21, 2017
We have an anonymous generous donor that has issued a $2500 Donor Match Challenge from now thru Dec 31st!!
They will match your one time donation AND/OR monthly pledges up to $2500 (cumulative)!! That means that for every dollar you donate or pledge they will match it dollar for dollar up to $2500 cumulatively!! WOW!!!!
Your donation of $25 instantly becomes $50. Your monthly pledge of $25 per month (x 12 months = $300) instantly becomes $600!!
4 people donating $55/month would take care of the whole donor match challenge!! That's the power of a few generous people making a huge impact in a modest, but impactful ministry!
To make a one time donation or adopt this ministry for 1 year then now would be a great time as you watch your donation instantly get doubled!!
We are $33,000 away from hitting our goal of raising $100k by Jan 31, 2018. Hitting this donor match challenge would instantly knock out 15% of that remaining amount!! That's HUGE!
CLICK HERE to donate, become a monthly partner, or simply track the total funds raised.
Thank you so much for believing in and investing in this ministry!! God bless you!
Going The Distance Adventure Ministry
Glorify God. Love Man. Have Fun!
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Hey Weekend Warriors, Thrill Seekers, Bucket-Listers, & Outdoor Adventurers...
The official date for GTD's annual Swamp Thing Everglades Backpacking Trip is Jan 27-28, 2018 (just over 1 month away!)
This is the hike your Mama warned you about!
Monday, December 18, 2017
I'm in the midst of several transformational "upgrades" in my approach to life that I'm ABSOLUTELY THRILLED about.
God has been guiding me away from overstriding and on towards abundant striding. It's all Spirit led and focuses on implementing healthy wise biblically based daily disciplines in order to become more fruitful and live at full potential for God's glory.
I've been striving after these life changing principles for 4 1/2 months and the breakthroughs and fruitfulness have been profound.
I'm taking a comprehensive approach to abundant living, but the gist of it is that I'm approaching life like I'm an athlete striving to become a championship caliber player in a team sport called LIFE. My year is comprised of 2 "six month seasons" (Jan-June & July-Dec). Each day I'm striving to have a winning day (It's a biblical definition of what a "win" looks like to God... I'll explain more in the future). I try to string daily wins together day after day to have a winning week. If I stay consistent those winning streaks translate into winning weeks and winning months. Since my "season" lasts 6 months I'm striving to have a "championship season" each season (hopefully 2 championship seasons each year) and put together repeats, three-peats, four-peats, and so on to build a dynasty (aka legacy) that glorifies God while inspiring & impacting others.
(This may all sound very cheesy to some people, but I find it very motivational and it helps me translate eternal priorities into daily objectives in an athletic, competitive, and fun approach which is how I tick... sometimes you have to construct an approach to life that is custom made for how God designed you. That's what I'm doing and it highly motivates me. There's a strategy to winning and defeating an opponent and this approach helps me adapt daily to my oppositions attempt to defeat me.)
So, like with any highly competitive sport, there has to be an off season to prevent burnout, injuries, boredom, etc, etc. So I've been praying about an off season and asking God what that looks like for me. My prayer time has been so sweet with God as He has been teaching me so much and leading me to solution after solution to each challenge.
I know I have to have an "off season", but my concern is that I don't want to take steps backwards from all the gains and victories God has been blessing me with. I'm aware that rest can easily become retirement if we're not vigilant to fight off complacency, apathy, and the lure of ease & comfort.
God immediately answered my prayers. He impressed on my heart and mind that He already invented an "off season" that infuses rest & recovery while protecting against backsliding. It's called a sabbatical. And it's designed to be a type of rest that continues to propel you forward.
In my terms, it will be the 6th month of each "season" (the months of June & Dec). During that time I will take a break from the daily grind of heavy disciplines and transition to a month of less striving.
For example, instead of lifting weights 3x per week I may go bike riding or kayaking while I give my muscles a few weeks off from heavy lifting.
Obviously I still have priorities and a ministry to run so I'm not saying that I'm not taking care of my responsibilities during this time frame, but more that the mental approach to the striving is more relaxed as well as the actual workload is less heavy.
I'm not sure if that makes sense, but as long as I understand it and implement it into my season is all that counts.
I've always known I was going to have to tackle the "off season" since I started this new life strategy so I've been thinking about it and praying about it for several months.
Now I'm at the point of starting my "off season" for the next 3 weeks and I'm excited about how God continues to guide me each step of the way.
Today I kicked off my 3 weeks of RADICAL SABBATICAL and I don't have it all figured out yet, but I've got the main structure in place. Part of the fun is learning and adjusting each day.
So my goal is propel forward while backing off of the daily grind for 3 weeks. It's a different kind of striving... but it still leads to thriving!
STRiVE to THRiVE!
Friday, December 15, 2017
DO YOU HAVE A MORNING ROUTINE THAT PRODUCES GREAT RESULTS???
I know this will sound boring, but for the past 4 1/2 months I've been experimenting with morning (and nightly) routines. The goal is to custom build a morning and nightly gameplan that launches great, healthy, & thriving results that glorify God and produce life-giving fruit.
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! God has led me on a really cool journey to discover simple wise consistent daily disciplines that produce great results.
As the New Year quickly approaches I'm reminded that this is the time when many people (myself included) set new year's goals and resolutions in an effort to establish a healthier direction for their lives. Oftentimes these goals are launched from emotions and tend to fade away within 2 or 3 weeks. Emotions can be great starters, but they can't sustain any long-term pursuits. When the excitement and emotions fade there has to be something of substance in place to sustain the daily grind & consistency needed to achieve your goals. That's where discipline comes in! It's this amazing free character quality that is available to most everyone, but has not been cultivated in high concentration over the past 3 generations. Entertainment, self gratification, mediocrity, low pain & low discomfort tolerance, emotional immaturity, and a whole lot of poor parenting has gutted 3 generations of healthy self discipline. And the results are painfully obvious. That's why healthy & wise self discipline is becoming one of the main emphasis of our ministry. It's the one character quality that impacts almost all other character qualities, goals, dreams, calling, and accomplishments. Without it, generations settle for low standards and mediocrity. Without it, people embrace the path of least resistance which leads to the path of greatest misery. Without it, no-one ever reaches their potential in life. Discipline is a word that elicits very little fan fare, but for those who embrace wise discipline it becomes one of the most thrilling words in the dictionary.
Starting in 2018, GTD will start focusing on helping others value, embrace, and implement wise healthy self discipline so they can live out their calling and full potential in Christ.
And I look forward to sharing my own custom built morning routine of daily disciplines that is producing so many great results.
Here's a hint. My first "10 plays" of each day (M-F) are already set in stone. They're built on the wisdom of God's Word, scientific research, wise advice from good examples, and personal priorities. I custom built my 10-play morning routine game plan to form an acronym (A.R.I.S.E. &. G.R.O.W.). Each letter is the first letter of an individual discipline that starts my day. Although discipline usually conjures up thoughts of oppression and boredom, when used wisely, discipline actually leads to greater freedom and accomplishment while reducing stress and decluttering the mind of nagging "have to's". My morning routine is customized around my personal needs, lifestyle, and situations so it wouldn't work for everyone, but it's working great for me. In fact, I'm thrilled about it! I'll share the details of each discipline in future posts.
More to come!
STRiVE to THRiVE!
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
I've been focusing on the value of proper amounts of sleep and rest for the past 18 weeks and I keep being astonished by the powerful effects of this free readily available resource.
Until recently I looked at sleep and rest as these "necessary evils" that interrupt momentum and progress.
My body didn't require a lot of sleep in order to function with high energy and amble enthusiasm. I love the mornings and I hate calling an end to the day. I love chasing after dreams and my calling.
But earlier this year I painted myself into a corner. My main solution for solving problems and overcoming unnecessary struggles was to pray harder, work harder, and work more hours until the issue was resolved.
But this year I ran into the inevitable bigger problem... I didn't have anymore hours available to work. I didn't have anymore minutes of sleep time that I could donate to the work hours. I was all used up.
I could no longer draw from my greatest strength of grinding out more work over more time. I was maxed out. My greatest strength could no longer sustain the endless needs of running an organization. In fact, all the extra work and extra hours had become counterproductive.
Not only was it not sustainable, it had crossed over to becoming self destructive. I'm a hardheaded stubborn driven persevering person, and most of the time that is an asset... but my greatest ambition in life is to bear much fruit for God's glory so if I begin to see that my persevering efforts are resulting in diminished returns I eventually relent from driving on in that same direction.
But because God designed me to be naturally persevering I usually will exhaust every ounce of effort until I'm convinced it is a lost cause.
At that point I abandon the approach that proved to be counterproductive and begin seeking God for a new wiser approach.
So in July, after 10+ years of an extremely heavy workload (that often bore good amounts of fruit via more events run and more participants impacted), I abandoned the approach of resolving all challenges by working longer and harder.
I will keep that approach in my back pocket for occasional situations that require that approach, but I've moved on to a more disciplined approach of "LESS IS MORE".
This approach requires a "smarter not harder" approach which means I utilize more wisdom and more discipline in conjunction with staying in tune with the Holy Spirit in order to accomplish more results with less effort in less time.
So sleep has gone from my arch nemesis to one of my best friends.
In fact, I plain got it wrong when it came to assessing the value of sleep and rest. I know the main characteristics of a sluggard and an unproductive person are laziness and too much sleep. So sleep, in my mind, was synonymous with being a couch potato. I didn't want anything to do with that type of fruitless lifestyle. As someone once said, "I'd rather wear out than rust out."
But, to my own demise, I devalued the immense importance of the proper amount of sleep and rest.
I've thrillingly found that the wise amount of sleep literally fuels a highly productive day.
Sleep is rocket fuel which makes my bed a launching pad to highly productive and highly fruitful days.
I still let myself have 2 nights each week that I stay up as late as I want, but those 2 nights often remind me of just how valuable the other 5 nights of getting to bed by midnight really are.
It may not sound exciting to you, but disciplining myself to get the wise amount of sleep and rest is earth shattering to me.
Too little sleep doesn't fully refuel the rocket and too much sleep pours excess fuel on the ground.
But the wise amount of sleep and rest fuels the rocket to travel to the moon and back each day.
And I'm excited about that breakthrough in my life!
Thank YOU Jesus!!
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." - Mt 11:28-30
STRiVE to THRiVE!
Saturday, December 9, 2017
.... AND RECORD BREAKING NEWS!!! (66k RAISED!)
.... ALSO, PICS UPLOADED =)
We are still savoring the special night God blessed us with a few days ago at our Annual Banquet. We are so blessed to have so many incredible people in the GTD family!! It was a time to recognize and thank our supporters, encouragers, participants, and volunteers.
It was also a night to celebrate a year of epic comebacks. We got knocked down over and over again this year, but we kept rising back up and fighting back in faith. 2017 started as a heart-breaker, but ended as record-breaker!! It's so amazing how God turns set-backs into set-ups for victory.
I'm thrilled to announce that our wonderful GTD family continues to donate towards our 100k goal even after the banquet ended. Since Tuesday night we've received an additional 13k in support to bring our total funds raised to $66,000! That's a new record!! It eclipses last year's record total of 65k. And we still have 7 weeks remaining before our Jan 31st fundraising deadline. I feel a miracle in the making!
Thank you again to all of our supporters and prayer warriors! We feel the love!! And we look forward to all that God has in store for 2018 (& beyond).
You can check out all of the banquet pictures in this photo album. Special thanks to Housh, Carson, Laurie, & Matt for all of the great shots =)
God bless! And stay tuned!!
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS:
THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!
(Fundraising results below)
It was a wonderful and packed day that ended around 4am this morning. I look forward to sharing more details, but at this moment we simply want express our deep and profound gratitude to everyone who helped make last night's banquet such a special and successful night!
The year started with tribulation, but ended with triumph!
We were honored to recognize so many people last night that played a vital role this year of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.
2017 became an epic comeback story that culminated with last night's victory! It's all about people. Just like the heart of God, it's all about people.
Thank you so much to so many people who care, who love, who sacrifice, who selflessly give so that a humble small ministry can make a big impact!
We are profoundly & deeply touched!
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much!!
PRELIMINARY FUNDRAISING RESULTS: Even though we had 80-100 less people able to attend this year's banquet we are tied with last year's record setting result of $53,000 raised through one time donations and monthly pledges!!! Praise God!!! That's enormous!! Our goal is to raise 100k by Jan 31st and this is an incredible leap towards that mark!! Thank you so much to all of our generous donors that lovingly gave!! Our hearts are full of gratitude and thanksgiving!!
More updates to come!
Saturday, December 2, 2017
THE 47 YEAR OLD VIRGIN
Not a prude. Not a judger. Not embarrassed. Not ashamed. Not perfect. Not prideful. Simply a happy joyful confident fulfilled man striving after a standard I believe in - saving sex for marriage. Not simply because it's the standard God sets, but also because it makes so much sense to me.
It's not easy, but it's worth it. No STD's. No regrets. No attachment dramas. No misplaced affections. No addictions. No idols. No sexual baggage to take into marriage (if I ever get married - LOL). No low self esteem. No downsides except weathering periods of strong urges... but even that produces greater depth of character, greater self control, greater discipline, and greater self respect.
The world laughs and says I'm missing out. This virgin laughs back... laughs last... laughs best =)
PROVERBS 7: 6-23
At the window of my house
I looked down through the lattice.
I saw among the simple,
I noticed among the young men,
a youth who had no sense.
He was going down the street near her corner,
walking along in the direction of her house
at twilight, as the day was fading,
as the dark of night set in.
Then out came a woman to meet him,
dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent.
(She is unruly and defiant,
her feet never stay at home;
now in the street, now in the squares,
at every corner she lurks.)
She took hold of him and kissed him
and with a brazen face she said:
“Today I fulfilled my vows,
and I have food from my fellowship offering at home.
So I came out to meet you;
I looked for you and have found you!
I have covered my bed
with colored linens from Egypt.
I have perfumed my bed
with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.
Come, let’s drink deeply of love till morning;
let’s enjoy ourselves with love!
My husband is not at home;
he has gone on a long journey.
He took his purse filled with money
and will not be home till full moon.”
With persuasive words she led him astray;
she seduced him with her smooth talk.
All at once he followed her
like an ox going to the slaughter,
like a deer stepping into a noose
till an arrow pierces his liver,
like a bird darting into a snare,
little knowing it will cost him his life.
Friday, December 1, 2017
Despite the hurricane evacuation, our trip to Colorado, a month long cold, Thanksgiving holiday, and now the full days of preparing for our biggest event of the year (our Annual Banquet) I haven't missed a single workout in 3 months! And it feels so good!!
I've always had a good discipline, but now God is developing in me GREAT DISCIPLINE. And each day I'm eating the fruit of yesterday's wise choices. It's like I wake up to a delicious fruit basket each morning =).
I'm looking forward to a month of unknown obstacles as I strive for unwavering consistency. I do, however, get 2 weeks off for Christmas as part of my yearlong game plan, and then blast off again on Jan 1st as I launch into 2018!
So far I love my overall strategy and game plan. I've factored in short breaks throughout the year to prevent burnout, include variety, and to give my body little breaks for recovery as well as to rebuild the fire to get back to striving!
"The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied." - Proverbs 13:4
STRiVE to THRiVE!