You know, one thing I miss taking the time to do as an adult is to play board games. It always seems like there are too many things to do besides playing a good game, or you actually would rather rest than get in a fierce competition of a board game.
What are your favorite board games? My favorite board games when I was growing up, were trivia games. I used to love Bible Trivia games. I think I even beat my pastor once. Hey, it is an added benefit of having Bible classes and chapel at a private school. I can remember there was another trivia game, where the board had planets on it. I don’t remember the name or anything else, so I don’t guess it impressed me too much. My favorite trivia game of all times is Trivia Pursuit. This must be one of the most beloved trivia games. I found a list online of at least 30 different versions of the game. They even had a Beatles Version.
One of the reasons I like the game, is that I could normally beat anyone in my family at the game. I know games are for fun, but there are much more fun when you win. I can also remember that on occasions I would get the box of trivia questions out of the game, and while I was watching or listening to tv, I would go through the blue questions, and see how many I could answer. I am sure I was pretty good at history and sports. I know I would have a hard time with entertainment or science and nature.
Wouldn’t it be nice if our lives could have such simple pursuits? Don’t you remember the joy you felt with a hard-earned victory in a board game? Unfortunately, we all get older (most also mature), and our pursuits change and to a degree become harder to obtain. I searched online, and found the top 10 things that people pursue are happiness, money, freedom, peace, joy, balance, fulfillment, confidence, stability and passion. Another web search gave me 7 broad categories of pursuits. These were material things, such as nice car and house; self-confidence such as being attractive as you age; adventurous such as visiting ever continent; spiritual/emotional such as feeling important to others; career such as being more productive each day; lifestyle such as not being afraid of intimacy; and health such as finishing a marathon (I don’t know you would even want to start a marathon).
Bible Verse on Pursuing I don’t remember what I was looking up at the end of last year, but I was looking up Bible verses for some reason. I came across 1 Timothy 6:11. This verse says, But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. The verse really caught my attention, it caught me so much, that I have chosen that verse to focus on in 2018. This verse lists 6 things we are to pursue. Pursue righteousness, yes this is a good pursuit. Next comes godliness, and yes, we should pursue that as well. We then read faith (we all need more of that at times), love, and then the last one is gentleness (our society definitely needs to pursue more of gentleness), and most of us agree we need to pursue all of these qualities.
Did you realize I left one out of the list? Endurance, I left out of that list, some versions of the Bible use the word perseverance instead of endurance. What do you think of when you hear or read the word perseverance and endurance? Perhaps you think of pain, trials, suffering, not much fun. If we associate such negative words with the concept, we then ask the question of why should we pursue endurance? It doesn’t make a lot of sense.
The main reason that this verse caught my attention, is that in November, I started working out with a trainer. He normally comes to my house and works me out twice a week. I have begun to see results. I have lost over 16 inches, and about 15 pounds. I am able to do many things now that I couldn’t do, before I started. My arm and chests muscles are beginning to enlarge. These are the good things, but there are some negative things about working out. These include getting tired during a workout, and being reprimanded by your trainer, being tired and being pushed to do more, and my favorite is when your body feels good after a workout, and a day or 2 later, the soreness hits. I get frustrated with my trainer, when he challenges me, and keeps telling me over and over not to quit, to push through the pain. At times, I am doing better with this, but there are still times when I don’t want to push through. I also know that I won’t see the full results of working out if I don’t endure or persevere. Like the saying goes, no pain, no gain.
Before I discuss more Bible verses on perseverance, I think it would be helpful to give a definition of the word pursue and perseverance. The online dictionary defines it as to find or employ measures to obtain or accomplish. I also looked up 1 Timothy 6:11 in an online interlinear Bible (allows you to look up the original Greek or Hebrew words in a scripture) and found that the Greek word means to chase, to pursue with all hast, to earnestly desire to overtake. When I hear the word pursue, I think of pursuing as being something you focus on, and you let things that don’t help you in that pursuit to be put on the “back burner”. Perseverance means steadfastness, especially as God enables the believers to remain under the challenges that He allots in life.
I have looked up the word endurance and perseverance in the Bible. There are four reasons we ought to pursue perseverance and scriptures that go with those reasons. The first reason is that perseverance produces character and hope in us. Romans 5:3-4 says, Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. The word glory in this verse means to be proud of, to boast in. Character means to have proof of being genuine, being tested and true. Hope means expectation, trust, and confidence. It is easy to sometimes “talk the talk” of our faith, but when we face times where we are called to persevere, we discover how true our faith is, and we are called then to “walk the walk” of our faith.
The second reason is that perseverance makes us mature and complete and not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 says, Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. The word testing denotes that what is found is genuine. Finish means to be in completeness of Christ character (in us). Mature means reaching the end, fulfilling the necessary process. Complete means sound, being able to discern God’s will. Not lacking means fall short of or lacking.
The third reason is that perseverance is part of a process that keeps us from being ineffective and unproductive in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus. 2 Peter 1:5-8 says, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ineffective means to be lazy, useless, and unprofitable. Unproductive means to be barren, eternally fruitless, a waste. Knowledge means to know that something is appropriate by first hand experience. In other words, knowing the person and character of God as we go through the trials we experience. The last reason is perseverance enables us to glorify God. Romans 15:4-6 says, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Glorify means to personally acknowledge God in His true character.
I hope these verses have shed some new light and insights into the benefits of perseverance. May we all view our trials and times of endurance differently. May God continue to reveal Himself to us during these times. Now go persevere the rest of this newsletter!
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 will soon have the orientation meeting schedule on our web page, and I will share the dates in the next newsletter.
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.
The other changes will occur before camp. Our camp leadership team, realizes that we must do a better job of promoting the camp in the neighborhoods. We have actually found people to lead the different areas, so hopefully that will mean more campers and more volunteers as well. We are excited about next year’s camp. We have begun renewing our partnership with the Lubbock Dream Center, by committing to go regularly to their “Serve Saturdays”. This will allow me to network with different ministries and pastors, and get our team in the neighborhood more, and out of our comfort zones.
It always amazes me, how it seems each year this is something new that comes up that we prepare for. It definitely teaches us perseverance. I don’t really get upset when these things come up anymore. I definitely know that God will go before us, and as we seek after Him and His knowledge, that He will provide for us, and will pour out His blessings.
Annual Golf Tournament We are also preparing for what I think is our 10th annual Benefit Golf Tournament. This year, the golf tournament will be on May 5th. The tournament will be held at Meadowbrook Golf Course here in Lubbock. The format is a 4-person scramble, and the cost is $100 per player. We will also be having a silent auction at the golf tournament as well.
Some of you may not realize that the golf tournament is one of the major fundraisers for the ministry each year. We have been blessed by the money we get from sponsorships, off of the auction, and even some of the players will make donations after the tournament as well. We have changed our tournament sponsorship levels for this year. This year, we offer many different sponsorships ranging from $5,000 to $100. Some of the sponsorships will give a business great “advertisement” at our tournament. If you or someone you know would be interested in sponsorship of the tournament, I would be glad to visit with you about it.
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.
Honoring those who made 2017 Another Year of Blessing. We would like to thank the following for their investment of money, time, or both. It takes many to make the camp happen: ABC Bank, Harleigh Aguirre-Golightly, Aldersgate Church, Ella Ashley, Nathan Ashley, Eddie Avery, Janie Bailey, Luther Bailey, Charla Barger, Joyce Bartlett, Tess Bliss, Tony Bliss, Dorothy Brophy, Tye Brantley, Jaden Bullington, Caylene Caddell, Kevin Caddell, Donajean Caffey, Ty Caffey, Abbie Calderon, Amanda Castner, Esterrita Castro, Cindy Clark, Peggy Clark, Brent Coffey, Chuck Colbert, Lyndi Criswell, Jon Decker, Bailey Delavan, DG Marketing LLC, David Jackson Contracting, Decker, Durango’s Mexican Restaurant, Kyle Elliott, Monea Embers, Curtis & Shayla Erickson, Lee & Cynthia Eulenbach, Lupita Felan, First Bank & Trust, Flipgive, Anita Flores, Jon & Marcia Furbee, Yamilett Gallegos, Kyla Garrett, Madison Gilmore, Jaime Gonzales, Legina Gonzales, Marisol Gonzalez, Pedie Guerra, Genye Guinn, Tristina Gutierrez, Dave Hagberg, Zhadai Hancock-Redwine, Ava Hannon, Don & Sue Hargis, Erin Hayes, Jazz Hereford, Michelym Hereford, Madysen Herrera, Linda Hiracheta, Lamicha Hogan, Gary Horton, Keyondra Horton, Corky & Barbara Hunsucker, Terry & Sheri Hurst, David Jackson, Shari Jackson, Xixi Jia, Jimmy Johns, Keedra Johnson, JW Data, LLC, Gabby Kirkwood, Sharon Kirkwood, Milton Lee, Lighthouse Fundraising, Jon Lowe, Glenn & Barbara Lust, Erek & Sara Mackey, Al Manny, Cullen Manny, Nancy Manny, Aramis Manriquez, Erma Manriquez, Ethan Manriquez, Sarah Manrqiuez, Brooxie Martinez, Bill & Karen McCay, Martha McClenan, Craig & Ann McDonald, Breanna McGaha-Osby, Marisol Medina, Gerry Meyers, Lyandri Mireles, Ray Mojica, Mark Monette, Esther Moses, Joyce Munsch, EV & Jeanie Murphy, New Millennium Baptist Church, Ovations-Spectra Concessions, Chris Osby, Savannah Pannell, Roberta Patterson, Chloe Perales, Noah Posada, Priority1 Forensic Fire, Eli Pruitt, Jasmine Puente, Nathan Puente, Linda Rakestraw, Tom Rask, Braydon Raven, Della Rios, Rising Star Baptist Church, Zoey Rodriguez, Honestie Salazar, Gleen Samuels, Ronald Sanders, Aryanah Session, Keeiona Shed, Jordan Simmons, Kem Smith, Judy Smyer Eddie Sosa, Southwest Brands, LLC, Darrion Taylor, Tom Tebo, Emily Thompson, Hollie Thornburg, Michael & Penny Tibbets, Angie Tijerina, Joseph Torres, Sharon Trusty, Robert & Catherine Tuggle, Mary Turner, Jaclyn Vasquez, Isys Villegas, Bill Waller, Colleen Waller, Walty’s Equipment Inc., Richard & Karen Wampler, Josiah Whiting, Melanie Whiting, Mark & Suzette Williams, Mikea Williams, David Wilson, Fred Wilson, Tabatha Wilson, Roger Wolcott, Paula Womack, Wound Care Center, Bill Wrench, Jamardrick York, Destoney Young, Natalia Young