Posted by: ritagone | October 22, 2014

My Last 24 Hours

generous-heart-hands-e1358871421714-22942_450x180Just got back from a 24-hour conference with the Christian Associates board members and their spouses (minus a few spouses who couldn’t make it, unfortunately). It is called a JOG, and no, we didn’t run around. JOG stands for Journey of Generosity, and this shortened version of the “big daddy” conference is under the aegis of Generous Giving, a wonderful ministry whose President, Todd Harper, just happens to be a dear long-time friend of Michael’s and mine. In fact, Todd’s wife Collynn was the flower girl in our wedding 44 years ago!!  (I love to tell that fact to people, because she’s still so adorable, and besides, how many people can introduce their flower girl so many years later?)

Toward the end of last year, Dudley Callison, CA’s President, and I attended a JOG conference in Dallas which Todd also facilitated and both came away with the same feeling: this information is too important to not have our spouses there with us while we listen and learn. So we committed ourselves to finding a good time to bring a JOG conference to the board, and it worked out that, since the board meeting was going to be out here in Southern California at my home this month, it was logical to tag on an additional 24 hours and ask Todd if he would be gracious enough to come out and facilitate for us. (He doesn’t do this as often as he used to, now that he’s President of the organization. So when he said yes, it was a real honor and a blessing, and when he said he would bring his wife, it was even more special. And as I write this, they are sleeping upstairs in my guest bedroom after a wonderful conference. I’m wonder how I can keep them here forever!  They are very special people, but that’s a whole other blog for another time!)

So we asked each board member to commit to an extra day after the two days of our board meeting, to bring their spouse along with them, and to be prepared to be challenged.

And were we ever!!

I won’t share with you the nuts and bolts of a JOG conference, because I hope every one of you reading this gets to experience a meeting of your own at some point in your lifetime. But suffice it to say that the challenge was not just about your money and the ability to give it away generously. It was about your lifestyle, the way you view God’s working in your life, and who you understand and believe God is, what you see He’s capable of and why we don’t release Him to do what only He can do in the world around us.

It was a mighty big topic, and it had an impact on every person sitting in that small  conference room for five sessions.

Michael and I – in one of the segments where you had 30 minutes to process alone some of the serious questions posed to you in the workbook and then share your answers with your spouse – realized that we have much work to do in several key areas of our life together. We confessed to one another that there is a great need in our life to sit down and spend a day thoroughly going through everything we own – every asset, every belonging, every thing we can think of that has a place in our world – and assess whether or not we need it, we should own it, or, if not, what we should do with it. And if it’s something to be sold off, what would we do with the proceeds? Big tasks, big decisions, and yet, as we talked about these issues, we both felt a sense of relief that we were finally tackling something that because of busy-ness or laziness we just hadn’t gotten around to.

And that’s only one example of the impact of the JOG conference. Because my house is still full of wonderful house guests, and because tonight  I’m off to New York City for five days of fun and relaxation with a friend, some of the processing of the conference will have to be put off until I get home, which means that will probably take place in very late October.

So around Halloween, when everyone else is worrying about which costume to wear this year, I’ll be sitting in my office, asking God to make a reality all the thoughts and challenges I have experienced over the last two days.

I can’t wait!



  1. Scroll down to see typo in bold.

    You really need to let me see these before you mail them.

    Michael Warren

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