Finish Strong With Fearless Faith

A Finish Strong Christmas #112

December 17, 2023 Fearless Faith Season 3 Episode 112
Finish Strong With Fearless Faith
A Finish Strong Christmas #112
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Show Notes Transcript

Christmas is an amazing time of the year.   It often flies by way too fast.  It is easy to get caught up in the hustle, bustle, and STRESS of finding the perfect gifts, decorating your home, attending Christmas parties, and on and on.  So Terry, Brian, and Dan decided to take some time to focus on the joy and meaning of Christmas.  In this special Christmas 2023 edition of Finish Strong, they share their favorite childhood Christmas memories and traditions.  They also discuss new traditions they’ve started.  

This past year was an exciting year for Fearless Faith ministries and for each of our three Amigos.  They reflect on the growth of the podcast and the Morning Cups of Inspiration they share daily on Facebook and YouTube.  The highlight of this episode, however, is hearing from their wives. Karen, Deb, and Pam all appear, as does their producer, John Matarazzo.

Join us for a very, merry Finish Strong Christmas!

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Dan Wheeler:

Hello and welcome to our finished strong Christmas celebration. I'm Dan Wheeler, I'm joined by Terry Steen and Brian Ro land. And guys, it's that busy time of the year where we're thinking about shopping for gifts, wrapping gifts. We've all got our houses decorated, as you can see, but it's important to slow down. We want to spend some time with our listeners talking about Christmas. Yeah, it's

Terry Steen:

a busy time, but yet one of the greatest times isn't it and I have to concede most of the Christmas shopping and wrapping defaults to my wife. So I don't have to put a lot of time into that. Yeah,

Brian Roland:

and our decorations. This is all Deb. I just I just helped get the ornaments and stuff in the house and she puts a wall up.

Dan Wheeler:

That's kind of the way it is here too. In fact, I was helped Pam and I were decorated she was I've never had a man helped me decorate I'm like what can I just be a part of it? No, it was it was great though. We got it up. Hey, speaking of our wives, they're going to be here joining us near the end of the program. So I know you want to tune in for that because they're much better looking than we are Yeah. And even John Matarazzo our producer will make an appearance but guys Christmas it is such a special time and for me being back in my hometown it just brings back so many memories of being a kid here and celebrating Christmas I'm sure you guys like I do you have many great Christmas memories let's start with some of our favorite Christmas memories Do either of you have one you'd like to share?

Brian Roland:

Yeah, I remember when a couple different ones like my dad always had a little eight millimeter camera you know took all the pictures so it

Dan Wheeler:

is my Dad Yeah. And he had all kinds of lights for lights across

Terry Steen:

four lights

Dan Wheeler:

it's so much more like

Brian Roland:

my there was one year where I got all kinds of toys and you name it little tracker to write on a wagon all that and I got more excited about a box of caps for my gun.

Dan Wheeler:

That was the most exciting

Brian Roland:

that my sister always reminds me of that one but the other one was which I think she was with them for if I remember right we found our gifts before they were wrapped and we had the X surprise Christmas morning because we were unwrapping

Dan Wheeler:

now this was after you learn that well did you still believe in Santa them?

Brian Roland:

Oh yeah, yeah, I was just coming back from Cabo I still

Dan Wheeler:

here. Okay, yeah. How about you, Terry? Well, I

Terry Steen:

spent most of my Christmas memories really or when I'm a little older. I did you know growing up in Iowa at least I had a white Christmas almost every year and I do remember a couple specific presents one was a wind up rabbit a plastic rabbit in a dark rifle where you ran the rabbit across the floor and tried to shoot it with the darn gun. And I was pretty excited about that. Things have changed now as far as quality of toys

Brian Roland:

they were all evolved around guns for kids for like cowboy outfits. Exactly.

Dan Wheeler:

Well, I have one for Do you guys remember Mr. Machine? Uh huh. He was a robot but he was all gears and you could see inside but the cool thing was you could take them apart and put them back together with the gears and everything and I just remember the commercials. Mr. machine and I'm like, I gotta have it and I got it. So that was the one year I didn't get colon my stocking I was really so many great memories though. Flood my mind even here walking down town St. Joseph, they do a thing now called light up the bluff. The whole bluff and this is like a quarter of a mile. It's just all lit up constant lights and, and there's a tree Christmas tree big Christmas tree right in the middle. And they do a lighting and the high school choir comes out in they sing Christmas carols. So that's fantastic.

Terry Steen:

Well back when we lived in the Charlotte area, if if any of our listeners have heard of heritage USA, where they did the PTL Club, so huge campground, it was 2500 acres and they lit up the entire place. And we made a tradition out of taking Ashley our daughter and making some Karen would make some rocky road or fudge or whatever. And we would do that at least once every Christmas. Just go through all the Christmas lights, roll the windows down, listen to Christmas music and eat our candy and what a great memory and tradition that was for us.

Dan Wheeler:

Yeah Oh,

Brian Roland:

that's cool.

Dan Wheeler:

Yeah, my family we had, I don't know where it's one of my I think my grandma made us all these Christmas shirts. And they were like long sleeve shirts. Got a down below by knees by the time was in high school it was kind of a mini skirt shirt. And red and white. We wear these hats, these sleep hats. So we kind of can continue that tradition. With my family and my girls as they were growing up. We always go to church on Christmas Eve. And do you know the lighting of the candles is always great on silent night. And then we would go out to eat and then we drive around and look at all the Christmas lights. And then we go home and everybody was allowed to open one present and that presents your new pajamas. So that's a tradition. We kind of continued. How about you, Brian? Do you do you and Deb have any traditions things you do every year? Europe?

Brian Roland:

It's funny because we really don't. Since we got married, we were in Atlanta. And then we went to California. And then yes, we started. We trip starting traditions. California one though it really we miss was an every year the San Gabriel fire department, the police department will take this old antique fire truck and they go through the whole neighborhood with Santa Ana. And he did it in two nights. And we used to look forward to that every year to run out to that it was just so much fun. But here what we've been doing is having we have a holiday party for our whole neighborhood. Now we've done that now. And we're just coming up again this weekend. So we tried to do that to get everybody involved in Christmas here.

Dan Wheeler:

It kind of depends on where you live, right. And Terry, you're kind of in a newer place any traditions that you're doing or anything you and Karen keep

Terry Steen:

alive. Not too much. At this point. I do remember when I was a kid, you were talking about your traditions, then we would my dad every Christmas Eve we'd all sit together and he would read Luke to the Christmas story. And we would all pray after reading the story and then rip into the gifts. And for some reason, we got to open all our grip gifts on Christmas Eve. So apparently we didn't believe in Santa for too long. No, no. And then the next morning, we had our stocking. So with Ashley, we kind of did a hybrid. We'd let her open up a gift or two on Christmas Eve and then do the rest on Christmas morning. But we'd always wake up and have a coffee cake and just set on some Christmas music and have a real typically a relaxed Christmas of just the three of us as a family and it's a great memory.

Brian Roland:

That's so cool. You know, as a kid, though we did. Every Christmas Eve was held at our house on my mom's side, the Italian side. And you know, they come out of the woodwork. Everybody in the field was fantastic.

Dan Wheeler:

I was gonna sell but she had a few snacks. Oh,

Brian Roland:

yeah. That was good. But it's it was amazing. Because the next morning we'd open up Christmas gifts. And I found that I figured out early that Santa Claus wasn't real. It wasn't real. Kids, if you're watching this mountainous Metro Gilbert from an Fern, or here this was from Uncle John or another, so an Uncle Bob, who wasn't really an uncle, you know, just a family friend. And I started thinking well is anything from Santa? Putting two together?

Dan Wheeler:

Right? Well, one tradition that I've continued from childhood and I always will is to read the Christmas story. I'm not going to read the whole thing. But just a part that I did that actually did a morning cup of inspiration about this because it's my favorite scene in a Charlie Brown Christmas, which I always love to watch when Linus was telling Charlie Brown that he knew what Christmas was about. Yeah. And starting in Luke two, verse eight. We read in there we're in the same country, shepherds abiding in the field keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them and the glory of the Lord shown round about them and they were sore afraid. And the angel of the Lord said unto them, Fear not. For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people that had to be pretty cool, a whole host of angels. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign on to you, you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel, a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill toward men. Guys, I often think about what that must have been like the shepherds, you know, who were considered kind of the lowest of society. They're out was smelly sheep all day long in the field, trying to lead them around protect them, but God chose them to announce the birth of the Savior. And I've thought why shepherds and I think is because God always does things different. He didn't go to the educated and the rich and The famous he went to the humble God loves humility. You know what I just? Do you ever think about that scene? Yeah, out there on the shepherds on the hillside.

Brian Roland:

Say what God could trust the shepherd so they can trust it with a flock, you can trust them to spread the word that the angels gave to them, that they weren't going to hide it. They weren't going to walk away from it. But they were going to share just like they said, they went to the city, they went to see the new board game. Yeah,

Dan Wheeler:

I bet they were. They were surprised that God chose it to him. But I bet they were honored. And you're right, Brian, they did what God wanted them to do. They spread the news. They went and worshipped the child. And then they went and told everybody an amazing story. Yeah,

Terry Steen:

it really is. I mean, can you imagine seeing the angels coming out of the sky like that, and it wasn't to be seen, by like, you say, Dan, the prideful, the King, the royalty, it was to be seen, by the lowest of the low back in those days, the shepherd.

Dan Wheeler:

I think that's really cool. Well, and because of this story, guys, we do what we do. This is why space is here to be like the shepherds, when you think about it. And you know, it's obvious, God chose us the lowest. I really relate to them. We're kind of we shouldn't instead of the Three Amigos, maybe we should be the three shepherds. But we are honored that God has chosen us to do this and humbled and a man's to be, quite frankly, when you look at what's happening, yeah.

Terry Steen:

And to see year after year to see the growth is continuing to take place as He uses us. And, you know, like we've said in many of our morning cups, and we have to live it, but it's just the unfaithful, it's, it's showing up, it's taken one step, then the next step, then the next step, and leaving all the results to God. And as long as we keep doing that year after year, I believe we're going to see God continue to use fearless faith like he never has before.

Brian Roland:

He uses what we give, and we give him freely, and we're just as vessels. And when you do that, he honors it, and he multiplies it, then that's all we can say. That's all I don't want any glory. I don't want anything. I just want to make sure we just kidding that word out that God gives us to get it out.

Dan Wheeler:

Yeah. Brian, the other day and one of your morning cups of inspiration you said and because of this, God has allowed us to reach millions. And at first I thought, yeah, millions. And then I started adding up all the things and that we've been doing this for eight years, and all the views and it's true. And we've been getting an international audience lately, like crazy from all around the world. Yeah. Which is incredible that we can you know, just use our computers or our phones and reach the world with the gospel. But we had no idea. You know, I thought we would just go to a church occasionally and preach Bucha it's been mainly this.

Terry Steen:

Yeah. It's crazy how he's used technology the way he has, you know, some of our morning cups. I've seen where the reach the exposure is to over 100,000 people on just one morning cup. Yeah, that's just mind boggling, isn't it? Yeah, I

Brian Roland:

think that we talked, we have actually shot a pilot for television. And with the the reach that you get through doing a podcast, other than what you do for television and the cost, the difference in the cost, right. It's like, it's just amazing that that was one of the things where we went in this direction guy says, Nope, that's not and I want you this one and took all right. Yeah.

Dan Wheeler:

Let's talk about what's been happening for those of you that have supported us or listened to us, or maybe you've just enjoyed or been fed by what we're doing. We had another year of incredible growth, which we are so thankful for this Christmas, Facebook, we've gone from 35,000 followers to 45,000 in one year. That's 1000. New. That's incredible. And a 33%

Terry Steen:

growth. Yeah, that's unheard of after seven years to have that kind of a jump. That was just a God thing, wasn't it? It

Dan Wheeler:

was it was like, like you guys were talking about it's because we show up. I mean, let's face it. We have days I have days where I'm like, Man, I'm just dry on ideas. I don't know what else to talk about, Lorna. Or when we've had to do some podcasts together. It's like, Man, I'd kind of rather just be outside the weather's nice. I wish you know, but But you know, it's it's always worthwhile when we hang in there. And at our age, we're still pretty vibrant. We can still work still do some things. It's right. Yeah. And we often say are so good. Right. Brian, tell us our model finished strong. What do we mean by that? When we

Brian Roland:

go out strong we're not going to stop Never stop. We might slow down. That's me know that's what happens as you get older Bible never says anything about retiring but you do slow down you switch gears right but you're moving forward towards the finish line. And

Dan Wheeler:

with your golf game, I was sure you'd go on the PGA or the Senior PGA.

Brian Roland:

Yeah, you know, I thought I would but after I tore my knee up a couple of years ago, I just haven't come back yet. So yeah, those golf balls are so far deep in the garage and I can't find them.

Dan Wheeler:

Terry, when we lived in Chicago, we had a big like, channel three golf. And Brian, look like us playing Polo.

Terry Steen:

Speaking of injury, I have started playing pickleball more seriously. And I and I had been as you know, I have lifted weights. I know I doesn't look like it but I mess my shoulder up a little

Dan Wheeler:

three pounders. 3.9 sorry, go ahead.

Terry Steen:

My back hurt a little. So finally I go to the doctor get a cortisone shot in my shoulder. So that's feeling better? My back's Okay, I'm ready to really get out there and play pickleball in the first five minutes, I pulled a hamstring last night. It's still hurting, I'm out of commission. Like this old age thing is like killing me. Yeah.

Brian Roland:

Slow, you know, slow down. Yeah,

Dan Wheeler:

I was gonna talk about reflecting back on this past year and things were thankful for him. One of them was my heart situation. I didn't see that common eye. You know, the last couple of years, I felt like I just couldn't get in shape. And like it was out of breath. I didn't have any stamina. And, you know, I go to the doctor and he listens to he does listen to my heart says I got to do an EKG says my EKG is really weird. Funky was the word he used a medical term. He said I got an order a stress test I did the stress test that was showing my heart was only pushing out about 60% of the blood, it should be that a normal person does. And come to find out I had a major blockage in my Widowmaker. And if I want to take care of it, I could have been singing with the angels, you know, sooner than than I anticipated. But got it all fixed now and you know, put in a stent opened up another one of the balloon and I'm on all kinds of drugs, but medications, but I'm able to work out now and I'm in rehab. But that's I'm thankful that's something that happened to me this year that I feel brought me even closer to the Lord. Because when you hear you have a heart problem, it's scary. Yeah. And I know I talked to both you guys and said, This is frightening. Pray for me. And it's nice to have friends like you that we pray for each other. And

Terry Steen:

we're grateful to we we would have missed you we would have still we would have only been the two amigos it just doesn't have the same ring. Yeah,

Dan Wheeler:

just tease all the time about being. But did you guys, what are you thankful for that's happened in the last

Terry Steen:

year, I would say for me, it's reflecting on my family and the generations that are coming after me in the positive impact my daughter and her husband, pastor a church out in California, some of you know that and to see the growth and the spiritual depth and all they're doing for the Kingdom. And then to see how they're raising my grandchildren, to be men and women of God and have a personal relationship. And to see my legacy work down generation to the next generation I've I've just been reflecting on that this year, because I've seen it in a greater way. And and I guess, as I made Jean, as I'm pulling a hamstring and having a shoulder issue, and seeing more of my friends pass away, it just makes you a little more reflective about what you're leaving behind. And so I'm grateful that God would allow that to happen in my family.

Brian Roland:

That was I jotted down a healthy year. I'm grateful for a healthy year. He blesses us in so many ways, but he's always given debonair, you know, good health, for the most part. And so I'm very grateful for that. And I'm also grateful for the church that we belong to in our Calvary Chapel, we found the church finally found that good home church, which we had such a hard time in California, finding a place around us. And in our church, which you guys probably don't know Dan's been there. So he knows he knows our pastor. But we bought some property, because Oh, really, we started the church started out of a small group, actually. And it was, it was a spinoff from Calvary Chapel, or Calvary Chapel is in Fort Lauderdale. And they all started up here around the villages, and you're meeting at a Jewish Temple. So that's where we meet right now. We're in a Jewish temple, but we just bought some property and it's just my street here. I like three minutes. Oh, really? Yeah. St. So that's a nice place there that they will be building out eventually right now they're just using the host. That's they're using it for meetings. And that's happening, but there'll be a breeding ground for a building there.

Dan Wheeler:

And we actually had your pastor on a finished strong podcast, great guy, Pastor Steve. So we're thankful for so much thankful for you. We mentioned our Facebook growth 10,000 new followers, YouTube, we've doubled our subscribers from 1100 to 2300. In one year, our finished strong podcasts, we've gone from 116,000 downloads, 250,000 downloads, and that's like a 30 Some percent gain, Instagram, we've had 2012 posts, 6319 followers, and I look at that page, and people are so blessed. And that's mainly Karen's work. Well, it's all Karen's work. Great job. And we thank you for that. And you're gonna meet Karen and Deb, and my wife, Pam. My wife, Pam, and John Mata-- Matarazzo, you're gonna meet them. After a very short break. We'll be right back as our Christmas special continues. Well, as we promised you, we brought on our better halves, to wish you all Merry Christmas, and we brought on our producer John Matarazzo. I'll let her do this. My wife, Pam, and we've been married six months, right? Six months. Wow. And it's going great. And very, I'll throw it over to you. Yes,

Terry Steen:

this is my wife Karen. Many of you have seen her name across some of the Instagrams and some of the postings she's put up with me for 46 years now. So that's pretty impressive. When you really think about it, Terry,

Dan Wheeler:

it's miraculous. It's

Brian Roland:

this is my wife, Deb. I call it the Duchess. Together 23 years and she makes us a happy home. But we

Deb Roland:

don't each other for 43. That's true.

Dan Wheeler:

Oh, wow. Wow. Well, we've got that beat. We've known each other for 4747.

Terry Steen:

I was probably longer than that. Wait, I

Dan Wheeler:

was 18. And I'm 66. We've known each other for 51 years. Oh, you will? Thank you. Yes. Oh, we're newlyweds and John Maeda Razzles. Here, our producer, your newlywed. But where's Phil? Did she have a previous commitment?

John Matarazzo:

She's unable to make it tonight. But we had such a great time at Terry's house last year for the Christmas get together and that we were actually still on our honeymoon whenever we did. That's right.

Terry Steen:

Yeah, that's right. That was commendable that you allowed us to be a part of that time period. And so, you know, the unfortunate thing is, is we can't all be together again because somebody had to move up north.

Dan Wheeler:

I know. I just can't believe that. Yeah, and

Brian Roland:

what better thing is that we do have new person every year that was with us last year. Pam's here this year.

Terry Steen:

That's true. Well, yeah.

Unknown:

Are you What's that? That family is growing it

Dan Wheeler:

is by leaps and bounds. I'm glad you mentioned that. Pam does shoot all of my videos now. So when you see that creative work, and you see the camera actually moving, I no longer have it sitting on a tripod. But Pam ma What would you like to say to her viewers in our audience? Well,

Pam Wheeler:

I just am going to say thank you to them because they have been so faithful and we so supportive of fearless Faith Ministries. And I would also like to say one other things that I'm thankful for the three of you the three the three amigos if you want to call us Yeah, Brian, Terry and Dan.

Dan Wheeler:

John makes this head

Unknown:

John and I just see all the work it takes to put this together on a daily basis. So I just want to say say thank you to you guys to do I wish them a merry Christmas. I do. I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a blessed and wonderful new year.

Dan Wheeler:

Thank you see, she's good, even though it's just like to be on camera. She does a great job. There. Yeah. Maybe Karen has something to say to her audience.

Terry Steen:

It always has something to say.

Karen Steen:

I also want to thank so much the fearless faith partners because they It helped me grow. They encouraged me. So many times in their comments, I love it when someone is in distressed or asking for prayer, and they all jump on and, and encourage that person and it builds my faith. And I appreciate that so much. So I wanted to thank them again this year for supporting this ministry and each of you guys and what you mean to it. And I wish them a really very, very merry Christmas.

Terry Steen:

It is that time of year, isn't it? And, and we do we rely and we get energized on the support we get from our partners, don't we guys, and whether it's financial support, or the great comments that we read are just the as we've seen the numbers growing and growing, we're seeing that more people are sharing what we're doing. So it's all just been really exciting. And what a great time of year. Yeah,

Brian Roland:

definitely think I

Deb Roland:

think we need to acknowledge too, that Karen is the one who does all those awesome posts. Yes. Facebook and Instagram, Instagram as well. Yeah. Yeah, they're really, they're, they're so creative. And just, they're so blessed. Really?

Brian Roland:

Yeah, very timely.

Dan Wheeler:

Absolutely. Thank you, Karen. Hey, let's all give Yeah, not too much when I go to her head.

Unknown:

Now, but I would like to just, I too, obviously want to thank all the viewers and up for, you know, just watching every day and contributing every day. And, and, and praying for these men every day. It's it's really important. And, you know, I, I'm so amazed at watching what has happened over the past seven years of this ministry. And so you guys are terrific. And just know that we pray for you too. And and that's important, because we feel like this is just one big family. So thank you for that. And Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. And you know, we'll just keep it going. Yeah, yeah.

Brian Roland:

It's been another great year.

Dan Wheeler:

Yeah. You don't get to you don't get to talk to our audience much.

John Matarazzo:

No, I do see comments here and there on the YouTube channel, or some some things like that, when it comes to the podcast, I see some, some of the, the, yeah, just some of the comments that people will leave about the podcast as a whole. And that's always encouraging to see how, how this is really impacting people's lives in such a positive way. And just to see the regular people that are really committed to following the content that you guys are putting out. Because it's you're led by the Holy Spirit, and people's lives are being changed because you're bringing the truth of the gospel in so many different areas of people's lives. And I love that morning cups of inspiration. I don't get to see them all the time that cuz I'm editing and doing everything. But I love how God speaks the perfect verse to you guys to share, and the stories that you guys are sharing from those. Really, really do minister and connect with so many people. It's It's encouraging to see that and to hear those testimonies.

Terry Steen:

Thanks, John. Yeah,

Dan Wheeler:

we would appreciate it. John, we appreciate you. We are a family here. We're all great friends, not only with each other, but with each other, you know, with Karen and Deb and John, and we know each other real well, what a blessing, huh? To be able to do ministry with your best friends.

Terry Steen:

It really is one more year down. It just seems like Christmas comes around so fast. But, man, we're coming into our eighth year of doing this. Yeah,

Brian Roland:

seems almost impossible, especially since we didn't know what we're going to do when we went into it.

Terry Steen:

Right? We

Dan Wheeler:

have no idea what this ministry was gonna look like. We just knew we wanted to do something for the Lord. And he had a plan. So yeah, really neat. And it's the way he leads us. It's every day. And yeah, he does always seem to give us verses or messages where someone goes, Man, that was just for me. Many times it's many people. So we thank you all so much. Thanks for joining us for our Christmas special. And on the count of three guys. We'll do a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 123 married God bless