4 weeks away from our most important event of the year... the GTD Annual Banquet!! Can't wait!
Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Saturday, October 13, 2018
Special thanks to my Dad & People Helping People of Pinellas Park for donating shelving (that they were retiring) to me & GTD.
Carson & my Dad disassembled the shelves a few months ago. Laurie & I have been reassembling them little by little over the past 2 months. And Traci & Carson helped create the overhead storage.
Today I finished stocking the shelves and decluttering the garage. This now gives us the workspace we need to move forward with the home improvements projects.
One of our goals is to reduce our storage / possessions by at least 50% over the next 6 months.
I can't express how much simple joy I now get from clutter-free open space. That's coming from a guy that has historically held onto way too much stuff "just in case". But that ship has sailed... there's a new paradigm taking hold in my life that revels in clutter-free open space. I've got a long road of decluttering ahead of me, but I can't wait to travel this route.
Thanks again to People Helping People of Pinellas Park for their generous donation of shelving, as well as my family & friends for their hard work in this project!!
Final costs: Main shelving = FREE. Overhead shelving was built 3 years ago. Additional shelving supplies to add more shelves = $100. Total current shelving cost = $100.
Tuesday, October 9, 2018
One of the most challenging aspects of running camps with a very small staff and being on the road for up to 5 months each year is all the administrative work that piles up while away. September through December is my annual time to catch-up on all the office work. This year was complicated by the fact that we had to relocate the home office. Finding & buying a house and then moving was an amazing experience, but it was extremely time consuming. It was my 2nd full-time job this year that took 6 months to execute all while running our camps. The great news is that all of the discipline applied to sticking to a wise daily routine kept me anchored in my daily devotions, consistent in my workouts, and healthy in my nutrition. The results are that I FEEL GREAT as I tackle a huge amount of admin work, prepare for our Annual Banquet, and get ready for our 23rd year of ministry! Currently I'm tackling our remaining financial entries so that our AMAZING ACCOUNTANTS - Fredrick James Accounting (who volunteer their services to GTD each year!!!) can submit our corporate taxes to the IRS by Nov 15th. I'm almost halfway through the projected 210 hours of data entries that piled up this year while moving and away at camps. 210 hours is the equivalent of a little more than five 40-hour work weeks that I'm working like a mad-man to do in under 3 weeks while tending to my other responsibilities. It's tedious, monotonous, and wrought with redundancy, but this nerd actually enjoys it. But I do look forward to completing it, being caught up, and getting to spend some quality time with our phenomenal faithful supporters who God uses to make this ministry possible. I can't wait for that!! We have so many people to thank, and hug, and rejoice with! But for the next week I'm playing catch-up in front of a computer screen entering receipts, expenses, and statements. A couple times each day I come up for air... then it's back to work =). Thank you supporters and friends of GTD for your prayers, love, and encouragement as we plod through another great year of ministry!
Thursday, October 4, 2018
Everyday for the past 5 months I've been reading and focusing on one of my favorite short stories in the Bible often referred to as, "The story of Martha and Mary" in Luke 10:38-42. At only 5 verses it may be pound for pound the most richly concentrated small passage in the Bible that accurately describes the meaning of life, mankind's premier priority, humanities' simplified purpose, and our tendency to chase after inferior counterfeits.
Its simplicity leads to a bewildering liberation. How can it be that simple?!?! Can the essence of life really be comprised into one simple thing?!?! Is sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to His words really all that is necessary?!?! Certainly serving Him and serving the needs of others is my chief calling, right?!?! In this one short passage Jesus declares that doing things for Him isn't as important as spending time with Him. Not even close! Not even comparable. Martha, in all her well intended toil to serve Jesus, was so DISTANT from Him that she became distracted, anxious, troubled, accusatory, blameful, controlling, and overwhelmed with too much and too many things on her "service plate". Her service for Jesus actually pulled her away from Jesus. And the results were that she was miserable. And for too many people, especially Christians, we have over-valued service for Jesus to the point that we have under-valued spending time with Jesus. We have not accurately assessed the value of a relationship with our Creator. We have put the call above The Caller... the gift above The Giver... the service above The Guest of Honor. When we do this, the symptoms are easy to recognize. Like Martha, we become distracted, anxious, troubled, accusatory, blameful, controlling, and overwhelmed. But Mary didn't experience that. She set the example that we should all strive after. She left the kitchen to spend time with her guest. Bravely, courageously she put a target on her back to be perceived as someone being irresponsible, neglectful of others, and possibly even lazy. But she was right. She was enjoying the presence of God. And that's the point. We were created to enjoy God's presence above everything else. To find our greatest joy simply hanging out with Jesus. Martha was trying to do good things, but anything that takes the place of spending quality time with Jesus is, by definition, a distraction from Jesus. Don't be mistaken, service is very important and it has its place. But too often, for too many people, it has wrongly taken the place of our one necessity in life - being with Jesus. Service should be an overflow of our time spent with Jesus, not a substitute.
The great thing is that spending time with God is both simple and easy just like spending time with a best friend. Taking 10, 20, or 30 minutes a day to just hang of with God will lead to a fulfillment & contentment that is incomparable to anything else life has to offer. It's like winning the World Series everyday! Oh, it will take a little discipline, wisdom, and fight to get out of the kitchen, or turn the TV off, or put your phone down, or get up 15 minutes earlier. But all those things are a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus.
As one of my favorite former pastors used to say, "The main thing is to keep The Main Thing the main thing." =)
STRiVE to THRiVE!
Wednesday, October 3, 2018
One of my life mantras is, "Anything But Boring!". When life & relationships become predictable then they become boring. Shake up your life with variety, adventure, and healthy risks... and you'll never grow old & wrinkled; only seasoned with smile lines!
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life,and have it to the full." - John 10:10
That's why I follow Jesus! He is anything but boring!
Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Join us for another festive banquet on Nov 13th (Tues night) at The Parkview Room of the Central Park Performing Arts Center from 6:30pm - 9pm. And don't forget, this event will be catered by CARRABBA'S!!!
Come enjoy a special night as we celebrate 22 YEARS OF MINISTRY!!!
CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS
CLICK HERE TO RSVP
CLICK HERE TO SPONSOR A TABLE
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Thank you so much for all the kind birthday wishes! I've been blessed with a lot of great years, but 47 was one of the greatest. It was a year of slaying giants... of taking down anything that attempts to limit my fruitfulness for God's glory or keep me from my full potential in Christ. The sling that God gave me to hurl the stones at each giant was made up of 3 main ingredients - increased wisdom, increased discipline, and increased fight. Those 3 ingredients opened the door to a greater level of consistency and potency in every area of my life - better rest, better sleep, embracing the Sabbath, more consistency of eating healthy, drinking more water, an unstoppable daily routine, limiting my work hours, literally making myself stop working, spending more quality time with friends & family, living more in the moment, wiser management of money & resources, confrontation of any habit or thought that is counterproductive, attacking strongholds, being more intentional, and the list goes on, but the most important improvement was increasing my prayer life from good to great. Every step I took resulted from the directions God gave me during our time together in prayer. Every wise step originated from a wise word from God. Then each step, each battle, each fight became a journey with God to my personal promise land. It wasn't a self reliant endeavor. It was birthed in prayer and powered by God's presence. And that was the whole point. The essence of life isn't what we do for God, it's what we do with God. It's the difference between being a Martha or a Mary... someone who is distracted by all the service for God that they stay in the kitchen verses letting the dishes and meal preparation take a back seat to spending time with the guest of honor - Jesus - sitting at His feet listening to His teaching. Understanding that so much of life is just smoke and mirrors that easily distracts us from the One Thing that matters - a close abiding relationship with God. Nothing else matters as much as that. And nothing else compares to the surprising greatness of truly knowing Christ Jesus. Life is this ultimate road trip with God where both of us should be riding in a Jeep off the beaten path with the windows down and the tunes cranking while the breeze hugs every part of your body, and all you can think is, "I wouldn't want to be anywhere else, with anyone else, doing anything else! I'm fully alive right now in this moment and sharing it with my Best Friend!" That is what life was created to be. But all the smoke and mirrors and distractions too often lures away from the ultimate road trip over to an empty rat race full of road rage. But Jesus is simply waiting to jump in the Jeep for the ultimate road trip. It can be the greatest adventure! You may think He is going to take you on this safe uneventful trail, but He will point you down every curvy dangerous road and each road will lead to a place where a personal giant is blocking your path. It's the roads we so often try to avoid, but Jesus ain't afraid. At each giant in the road you stop the Jeep and Jesus coaches you through slaying your giant... what each giants weakness is and how to slay him. Then you jump back in the Jeep, crank up the tunes, and head down the next dangerous road while reminiscing about the victory you just experienced as well as all the other awesome past victories. Building memories, and moments, and special times between you and your Best Friend. Slaying giants along the way. That's what 47 was for me. And I'm still in the Jeep excited about my next unexpected and dangerous road... itching for and craving my next fight. With every giant slayed the journey only gets sweeter. I'm thrilled about 48 and the dangerous roads ahead. I'm not afraid. I love to fight! I could die today or tomorrow or 3 weeks from now and I could care less because the eternal road trip will be even better, but as long as I'm here I'm going to be spending my days road tripping with Jesus and slaying giants and feeling the breeze hugging my soul =)
Monday, September 17, 2018
GET AHEAD OF THE GAME! ...LET GTD CUSTOM BUILD A GOD-AWESOME CHRIST-CENTERED EVENT FOR YOUR GROUP IN 2019!
Costa Rica Mission Trips:
Adventure Trips to GA, NC, & TN:
Weekend & Spring Break Retreats to FL:
Day Trips in the Tampa Bay area:
OR... a customized trip to:
--> The Grand Canyon - AZ (S. Rim, N. Rim, or Horseshoe Bend)
--> Havasu Falls - AZ
--> Zion National Park - UT
--> Bryce Canyon National Park - UT
--> The Mighty 5 - UT
--> Durango / Telluride / Silverton / Ouray - CO
--> Backpacking on the Appalachian Trail
--> Backpacking on the Florida Trail
--> Canoe Camping to Coastal Islands - FL
If it's outdoors - something we're familiar with - and glorifies God > we want to build a dream trip for your group!
(Feel free to share this your Pastors & Group Leaders!)
Friday, September 14, 2018
Special thanks to my awesome next door neighbor (Jerry Mullins) who gave me nearly 60 sections of his old wooden fencing along with the 4x4 posts a few months ago. Obviously it's weathered and has portions that are rotting, but I've got some clever and creative ideas of how I can repurpose this into something useful, stylish (hopefully!), and inexpensive. Will it work??? We will see!
I'm hopeful to kick off the house renovation projects sometime in early October... just in time for milder temperatures. Right now I'm collecting supplies on the cheap. More updates to come =)
PS: Thank you Carson for your hard work and efforts to help me pick up, transport, and stack the word fencing!
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Still cherishing our 16 mile overnight backpacking trip through The Narrows last week in Utah's Zion National Park with Calvary Church of Clearwater!!
It was full of endless river crossings, technical footing, and slow plodding, but it is such a unique and special national treasure... a feast for the eyes! UTAH ROCKS!!
Monday, September 10, 2018
Sunday, September 9, 2018
We spent the last 2 days cleaning and repacking the GTD adventure equipment at our gear cache in Flagstaff, AZ.
Each trip out here we add a little more gear. It may not look like it in the pictures, but GTD has amassed over $5000 worth of quality equipment that currently enables us to outfit 12 multi-night backpackers, 12 day hikers, and 12 base campers. We are steadily building our "GTD West" footprint =).
We are already working on our 2019 out west adventure calendar and hope you can be a part of the great, unique, & God-awesome experiences that the western United States has to offer!
Thank you to all of our donors, supporters, and participants that help enable the growth, development, and expansion of GTD!! We love you guys! God bless you!!