My reflections on The Phoenix Fill-Up

A guest post from Aaron Shamp


When was the last time you really felt spoiled? 

If you’re a ministry leader you likely haven’t experienced it in a while. We spend our days and months blessing others and being poured out for a cause bigger than ourselves. Even though some of us are blessed with churches that care for us, as I am, we still tend to pour out more than we allow ourselves to be poured into.

I got spoiled at the Phoenix Fill Up. We returned to the house in Queen Creek, AZ from an evening of go-karting and mini-bowling. The day had already brought something alive in me, something I hadn’t experienced in a while, something that we often think we are too “grown-up” for; I remember it being called delight. Go-karts are excellent at reviving delight.

Upon arrival at the house, we found that the back patio adorned with silverware, glassware, beautiful lighting, and a menu for our dinner. Perhaps a better word than the menu is a “map”. The dinner map charted a route for an eight-course meal. I felt spoiled!

Being Loved

Alan told us to receive the blessings that would come that week. That’s an important message for a group of young leaders. We did not have to work for them or produce anything out of them. He encouraged us not to be thinking “what do I need to accomplish at home after this week.” Our only task for that week was to receive the good things in store for us. When we sat down for our eight-course dinner of shrimp, salmon, watermelon gazpacho, steak, and chocolate dessert, we were allowed to simply receive. 

If an eight-course dinner sounds over the top, it was. Who needs eight courses?!? The same could be said for nearly every aspect of our time in Phoenix. Who needs brunch at an olive oil ranch? Who needs go-karts? Who needs hiking? The entire experience was extravagant. But that was the point.

God’s love is extravagant and over the top. So often I am prone to work for it or worry that I haven’t done enough for him. I am bad at receiving his love. Hear this irony of ironies; a preacher of the gospel struggles to accept the extravagant love of God. Even now, I am tempted to write about my personal action steps or ministry insights received from The Phoenix Fill Up. 

Here’s what I got that is better than anything else: God’s love is extravagant, over the top, and infinitely delightful. I want to open my hands and receive that unmerited love every day.

Do you need a fill-up?

I said yes to The Phoenix Fill Up because I sensed a need for joy. The daily grind of ministry and life wear away at happiness. I couldn’t articulate that beforehand, but I knew something was missing.

We had a training session with Lance Witt one afternoon. Lance shared with us his five words for Sabbath, and one of them hit me right in between the eyes; “Delight”. 

  In the past week, could your leadership be described as delightful? Would your family say that you are a delight-filled husband or father, wife or mother? How long has it been since you delighted in the ministry in which God has you in this season?

The only way to glow with joy and delight in your life is to be replenished with the extravagant love of God. The Phoenix Fill Up did that for me. I hope you’ll say yes to receiving the gift of delight too.