I have a question for you. One that we may not have thought of, and one in a sense is not easy to think about. Here is the question: What do you want on your tombstone? No, not on your tombstone pizza. When your physical body comes to the point that it no longer works, and it is buried, and a tombstone is placed to designate where your body lies, what do you want your family to put on your tombstone? Have you ever really thought about that before? Not easy is it? There are many answers to this question. Some could have chosen: loving, follower of Jesus, devoted mom/dad or husband/wife. Whatever is put on your tombstone is what defines the way you lived life, and how the closest to you saw the way you lived life.
I want to talk to you about your defining moment. Here is the definition of a defining moment: 1)an event that determines all subsequent (following) events or 2)time when the essential nature or character of a person or group is revealed or identified. I feel a person can have several defining moments throughout your life. For many of us, one of our defining moments is the moment that we accepted Jesus as our savior. Another defining moment is the career you chose or when you decided to get married and/or have children.
One of my defining moments happened in 2004. 2004 is the year when I answered God’s call to be a minister of the Gospel. I can remember sitting my parents down and telling them that it was time for me to answer the call of God. My mother would tell you that when I was little that I used to get my Gideon’s Bible and preach to my GI Joes. In elementary school, I remember writing a paper about wanting to be a pastor. As I grew older I tried to answer that call in different ways, but God brought me back to being a minister, and I am so glad I answered that call.
At that time, I was working full time at Texas Tech, and doing pretty well. I could have stayed there and I think God would have still blessed me. But He has blessed me beyond measure the last 14 years. I have gotten to become friends with so many people, my life has increased and been blessed as well, and I have grown in my relationship with God as well. I sometimes wonder what my life (and the life of others) would be like, if I had never answered that call to ministry. Answering God’s call to ministry was and continues to be a defining moment in my life.
Defining moments in the Bible.
For those of us who read and study our Bible, the Bible is full of defining moments in the lives we read about. For Abraham it was the call to go to a new land and a call to sacrifice Isaac. For Esther it was when she risked her life to save her people. For Peter is was walking on water and speaking at Pentecost. For Paul, it was seeing the light on the Damascus road and all the missionary journeys he took. These are just a few examples from the Bible. The Bible is full. Read Hebrews 11 for a list as well. I want to talk to you about David and some of his defining moments. There are several that we could choose from, but I want to look at 3 that are connected and happened before David became King of Israel or the forefather of Jesus.
The first defining moment I want to look at happens in 1 Samuel 16. Saul was King of Israel, but God called Samuel to go to Bethlehem and there a new king would be chosen. David’s father was Jesse and he had seven older brothers. Jesse and the his sons were consecrated and invited to the sacrifice. For some reason David was not invited. He was overlooked. The seven brothers were brought before Samuel, but none were chosen. Samuel asked Jesse if he had any other sons, and he said there was one tending the sheep. David was sent for and brought before Samuel, and he was anointed to be the next king of Israel.
I want to talk about David being forgotten. It is understandable that his brothers may have overlooked him, but his own Father? David is like many of us, when people look at us, they don’t see us as God sees us. They see us as incapable. Too short. Too young. Too fat. Too old. Not smart enough. When God sees you, He sees you as a Son or Daughter of the King of Kings. God has chosen and gifted each one of us differently to be used by Him to impact others and to Glorify our Father. I1 Samuel 16:7 says, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” If God has called you and chosen you, stand firm on that calling. Others may not see you as God sees you. They may not validate your calling, they may mock you or not understand the calling God has given you. That is okay. Just know if God has called you, He will bring that calling to fruition. David faced many trials and challenges before he became King of Israel. To study more about being chosen by God, read 1 Peter 2:9, John 15:16 and Matthew 20:16
The second defining moment comes in 1 Samuel 17. Like I just said above, David faced many trials before he became king. One of those trials was a 9-foot giant named Goliath. David is sent by Jesse to check on his brothers. As he approaches the battle formation he hears Goliath yelling at the Israelite army, and the Israelite shaking in their boots. He asks what will be done for the one who defeats Goliath. His brother mocks him for asking such a question. Saul is notified of David’s questioning, and Saul sends for David. David tells Saul not to lose heart, and then gives him this answer in 1 Samuel 17:34-37: But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.” Moreover David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”. David knew two things, first he knew that God had used his previous experiences to prepare him to fight a giant, and he also knew that it was the Lord who would defeat this giant. Others saw Goliath as a giant, David saw Goliath as a chance for God to be glorified. Perhaps the Israelite army forgot who the Lord was that they served, but David had come to know the Lord in a deep way, while he shepherded his flock of sheep. To read other passages about God’s ability to save, please read Matthew 19:26, Hebrews 7:25, and Daniel 6:26-27.
The third defining moment is when David goes and defeats the Goliath. Saul tried to dress David in his armor, but it was not right for David. So David took his slingshot and five smooth stones and went out to face Goliath. Goliath mocked him. David did not waver in his faith. Here is what he told Goliath: “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17:45-47). When Goliath ran towards David, David ran to meet his challenge and took out a stone and slung the stone into Goliath’s forehead. That is what you call a headache. Goliath fell to the ground defeated and dead and David stood there as a giant slayer. For the Israelite army, the fear of Goliath defined them, but for David him being a giant slayer, defined him. To read more about being a slayer of your giants, read: Revelation 12:11, Zechariah 4:6-10 and Romans 8:31-39.
Do you have any giants you need God to slay? Sure they may not be 9 feet tall. Your giant may be your past. It could be doubt. Perhaps fear. Maybe even poor health or relationships that aren’t what they should be. We all have some giant we are facing, so let God fight your giant for you and show you how to be an overcomer of your giant. He has been preparing you for victory. Your victory could be your defining moment.
All-Star Sports Camp
It is hard to believe that our 15th annual All-Star Sports Camp is quickly approaching. WOW! Where has the time gone? We are excited about the upcoming sports camp, and we have some major changes as well. We hope these changes will make it easier on our volunteers, and will hopefully help us recruit more volunteers.
The camp is scheduled for July 23-27th and will once again be held on the OL Slaton Middle School campus. The time again will be from 9:00 am—12:00 pm, and activities will be baseball, basketball, football, soccer, arts & crafts, cheerleading, and dance (formally called praise dance). Next year’s theme: Be Lit, For You are the Light of the World, based off of Matthew 5:16 “Make your light shine, so that others will see the good that you do and will praise your Father in heaven” (CEV). Our daily themes will be: A Guiding Light (Psalm 119:105), A Light to be Shown (Matthew 5:14), Living Life in the Light (Romans 13:12), A Transforming Light (Ephesians 5:8), and A Light to be Shared (1 Peter 2:9)
In connection to the theme, we have some cool things that each camper will receive. We always provide each volunteer and camper with a camp t-shirt, and a silicone bracelet with the theme and verse on the bracelet. Next year, both of these will be glow in the dark. In addition, on the last day I have written a piece where it will be similar to a Christmas Eve service, and we will start with 1 light, and share that light, until everyone has a light, so everyone will also get a key ring with a flash light on it. We also on planning on doing some special things with worship as well.
The biggest change is that we are changing our volunteer orientations. In the past, we have always done the required child safety training at the meeting, which added over an hour to each meeting. This coming year, those who want to, will be able to complete the child safety training from their home computer at their pace, so when they come to the orientations, they will only have to stay for an hour. For those, who don’t complete the child safety training at home, they will have to complete the child safety training after the orientation meetings. We have had a few people complete the online training already, and everyone seemed to enjoy it. I liked it, because it gave us some practical suggestions and tips to protect ourselves from accusations and keep the ministry above reproach.
Another big change is in regard to camp safety. We acknowledge that we live in a day and age, where we are called to be prepared for any tragic event. We realize we need to be prepared to protect the children at camp and our volunteers. For the first time in our camp history, we will have a uniformed police officer on site, to not only protect us from any potential threat, but to also inform us if anything happens nearby that we need to be aware of. For example, last year, shortly after the camp, there was a shooting a few blocks from the school. We are also planning on having an active shooter drill on the Saturday before our sports camp.
We have done what I am calling “Taking it to the Streets”, where we go at least one day a week to a neighborhood we want to target. We hand out information and if we see any people in their yards, we tell them about camp. We have done this for two weeks already, and we have handed out registration forms both weeks. We will keep doing this every week through the week before camp.
I am expecting to this be a great camp. Unfortunately one of our church groups who have brought kids the last two years, informed me they decided not to come this year. We will miss them. On the other hand, one of our sites where families can register for camp, has run out of forms and I had to take them more. We also had an assistant from one of the community centers call requesting some registration forms for their community center. We have already had quite a few people register online as well. Only Lord knows how many children will actually be at camp, but I will make sure that the kids who are at camp, will hear about Jesus and will have a chance to either begin a relationship with God, or take their relationship with Him deeper.
Sports Camp Volunteers
We are in need of more volunteers for sports camp. We need volunteers for each of the activities (arts & Crafts, baseball, basketball, cheerleading, dance, football, and soccer), registration, snacks and meals, and camp support. Volunteers need to be going into high school or older. Adult volunteers must pass a criminal background check. All volunteers must attend one of our orientation meetings, and attend our camp walk through on July 21st. The camp walk through will take place at OL Slaton Middle School and will last from 9:00 am until noon. After the walk through we are providing a luncheon for the volunteers from 12:30-2:00 at Asbury UMC, 2005 Ave. T. Here is a list of our remaining orientations:
June 30th 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m., Asbury UMC, 2005 Ave T
July 7th 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m., Asbury UMC, 2005 Ave T
July 10th 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Asbury UMC, 2005 Ave T
Please feel free to pass along this information to anyone you know who might be able to volunteer. You can complete our volunteer application on our webpage: www.livingabundantlytx.com
Sports Camp Sponsorship
We should produce another newsletter before sports camp, but in case we don’t, I wanted to remind you that for $25 you can sponsor a child for camp. This provides your child a daily lunch, a Bible, their camp t-shirts, backpack, and wristband, as well as any other item we give out that week. This year we have two new sponsorship opportunities. The first is for $750 a person or business could sponsor a day of All-Star Sports Camp. This sponsorship would be acknowledged on our website, social media, and in our newsletter. The second opportunity is for $500 you can sponsor the end-of-the-camp cookout. This would help with all the food for the cookout and possible enable us to bring in some form of entertainment. This sponsorship would also be acknowledged on our website, social media, and in our newsletter. You can donate online at www.livingabundantlytx.com. You can also send a check to Living Abundantly Ministries, P.O. Box 16491 Lubbock, TX 79490.
Annual Golf Tournament
We hosted our annual golf tournament on May 5th at Meadowbrook golf course. We had 12 teams participate in this year’s tournament. It was a nice warm day, and everyone seemed to have a good time. We were able to raise $4,000 for the ministry, after all the expenses associated with the golf tournament were taken care of.
We would like to acknowledge our golf tournament sponsors. Our gold sponsors were Al & Nancy Manny and Craig & Ann McDonald. Our silver sponsor was First Bank & Trust. Our bronze sponsors were Aldersgate Church, Windmill Financial Services, Scarborough Specialties, Brent Coffey and Southwest Regional Wound Care Center.
We were able to give each player a nice gift bag, and we also had fantastic door prizes and silent auction items. We would like to acknowledge those who helped with the gift bags, door prizes, and silent auction: Applebee’s, Bahama Bucks, BJ’s, Blue Sky Burgers, Carino’s, Carpet Tech, Chipotle, Chuy’s, Cotton Patch, Dallas Stars, DSC Consulting, Dixon Golf, Dunkin Donuts, Fire House Subs, Freebirds, Golden Corral, Golf Headquarters, Golf USA, Hayashi Midtown, Houston Astros, Jersey Mike Subs, Lori Jones, Richard Jones, Keva Juice, Logan’s Steakhouse, Mamarita’s, Cullen Manny, McAllister’s, Mr. Gattis, Nothing Bundt Cakes, NRH20 Water Park, On the Border, One Guy from Italy, Panera Bread, Picabbo, Pie Five, Qdoba, Raising Canes, Rockfish Grill, Rosa’s, Rudy’s, Schlotzky’s, Slim Chickens, Smoothie King, Texas Taco Company, Texas Rangers, Tide Dry Cleaners, Robert & Catherine Tuggle, and United Supermarkets.
We would also like to recognize those who came and helped at the day of the tournament: Ella Ashley, Nathan Ashley, Tess Bliss, Tony Bliss, Genye Guinn, Keyondra Horton, Al Manny, Aramis Manriquez, Savannah Pannell, and Noah Posada.