Are you enjoying the season? Most of you, before you answer, you are wanting to ask me: What season are you referring to? Some may be thinking seasons such as summer, spring, fall, and winter. Others may be thinking about seasons as they relate to sports. For some of you who love football season, you may be upset because there is only the NFL Championship game left, and some of you feel the Saints got cheated. Still others may be thinking in terms of the holiday seasons that recently ended. If there are any accountants reading this, you may be thinking of tax season.
I was actually referring to the season of life you find yourself. Again we all have different seasons in life. For some, because of overspending during Christmas, you find yourself in seasons of debt and stress. Some may be in a season of grief, as you are dealing with the death of a loved one. Some may be in a season, where you are dealing with health problems, mental problems, or relational problems. I am not trying to sound like the bearer of bad news. There are good seasons as well. For some, you are excelling at work. Some may be experiencing a new relationship or a relationship that has gone to a new level, one that you are enjoying. Some may be in a season of life, where you sense God moving in fresh and powerful ways.
As I have shared, there are many different types of seasons. Some seasons we enjoy, and other seasons we don’t. Can I be honest with you, my least favorite time of year is winter. My idea of good weather is weather like Florida (without the threats of hurricanes) and Southern California (without the threat of earth quakes). I would love to be able to wear shorts and t-shirts all the time. There is only three things that are good about winter: Christmas, it is close to March Madness (college basketball tournament) and baseball season is getting closer to starting (Tech baseball started practice today).
One more observation about seasons, they can change all of a sudden, or they can be unpredictable. For example, earlier this week in Lubbock, you could have worn shorts in the afternoon, and been fine, today you have to bundle up and some people may even be wearing hats and gloves to stay warm outside. The same can be true in our lives. There are times where we are experiencing a season of blessing, such as getting a new job or a raise. Then all of a sudden, you begin feeling sick, and you reluctantly go to the doctor, and the doctor calls you and says they need to be some more testing. Now you find yourself in a season of fear or doubt. I am sure some would share how they have been reunited with a long-lost friend or a relative, and all of a sudden that person dies, and you feel cheated.
I hope we all realize that people are experiencing different types of seasons. Some are good and some are not enjoyable. I want to take some time to share some things I have observed and experienced in sports season and relate them to whatever life season you may be experiencing.
Seasons are under the control of God
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 talks about seasons. This is what it says, There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. Let me make two observations, first God is in control of each and everyone of the seasons mentioned here. The second thing is each pair appears to be the opposite (birth versus death). These pairs can also be thought of as being a cycle (a time to plant, a time to uproot). However you choose to view the seasons mentioned here, know that each season had a beginning and an ending.
Lessons from sport seasons
The first lesson I have noticed, is to be successful, you have to work on your weaknesses. In sports, this is something that most athletes don’t enjoy as they start out. Coaches normally encourage their athletes to work on their weaknesses in order for them to no longer be a weakness. Coaches know that their opponents will try to exploit our team’s weaknesses, in order for them to be victorious. Fox example, if you have a player in basketball player who can’t make a free throw to save their lives, they may be fouled every time they touch the ball, or if you can’t hit a curve ball in baseball, you might end up facing a lot of curve balls when you come up to bat. For those of who believe in God, His strength is manifested in our weaknesses. Please see 2 Corinthians 12:9 and Isaiah 40:29.
The second lesson is that we must have a positive mindset. At the beginning of each season, each team starts out with the belief that they will be winners. Why even participate, if you believe you are going to lose each and every time. As the season goes along, you may have to adjust your expectations, you may not be able to make it to the championship game, but you can make improvements and try to get better. Instead of giving up 70 points, let’s try to hold this team to 40 points. For those who have played sports, we know that the mental sports is just as important or more important than the physical aspect. As a coach, I encourage my players not to say “can’t”. When you say I can’t … you are defeated in your mind. Same is true in life. If you go around expecting bad things to happen to you, guess what, they will. Please see Romans 8:31-39 and 1 John 5:4.
The third thing is that we have to be willing to make changes. This lesson can be applicable on the team level as well as the individual level. On the team level, if the coach is unwilling to change their players or “game plan” to something to work better, they won’t be successful. On the individual level, a player needs to be willing to changes that will benefit themselves or the team. As many of you know I never played football. I would have obviously been a good lineman if I had played. What if I had refused, and insisted that I could be a quarterback. I would have been better at protecting someone from getting sacked, than I would have been in escaping a sack.
The fourth thing I have observed is that we have to learn from our past. Top athletes watch a lot of film as they prepare for upcoming opponents. Some of that is to learn what they need to do better or improve upon, while the other part of that time is trying to see how they can exploit their opponent. For us Texas Tech basketball fans, we saw this happen this week. We beat Kansas State a few weeks ago, and this week, they changed what they did, and they ended up defeating our Red Raiders. Doing the same things over and over, when they haven’t worked for us in the past, will not be beneficial, and some people would call that “crazy”. Please see Job 22:21 and 1 Peter 5:6
The fifth thing is that for a team to be successful they have to respect and submit themselves to the head coach. In professional sports, we often see players who act like they know more than the coach. A lot of us “armchair quarterback” fans thinks we know more than the head coach, even if we never played that sport. A coach will have a vision for the team, and the coach needs the players (and supporters) to submit to the coach’s plans and work with the coach. Players need to remember the coach is the coach and they are the players.
The sixth lesson is closely linked to the fifth lesson, if a team is to be successful, there must be unity on the team. If the coach’s authority is undermined, there is not great chance of being successful. If the players argue with each other, and are jealous of each other, and are not willing to work together and respect the other players and their talents, again not much of a chance for success. Please see Psalm 133:1 and Romans 12:6
I hope these lessons have helped you. I have applied some of these lessons in my personal and ministry life. The main thing I want to remind you is that God is in control of whatever season you are experiencing. For those who are experiencing a season you are not enjoying, let me encourage you in two ways. First, what can you learn from this current season? How is God using this season for your good? Second, at some point this season of life will end. A new season is coming. GET READY!!
All-Star Sports Camp
Our 16th annual All-Star Sports Camp (hard to believe it has been that long) is scheduled to take place July 15th-July 19th. As many of you are aware, we have hosted the last 4 sports camp at OL Slaton Middle School. Last year, Lubbock ISD encouraged us to move the camp to a new location, They feel it is less of a burden to the hosting campus if we move the camp on a regular basis. This will probably allow us a chance to impact different parts of the city on a regular basis. The camp leadership team have met and discussed a new location, and we feel God leading us to Cavazos Middle School. Cavazos is in North Lubbock, about 10 blocks north of Texas Tech University. The neighborhood is predominantly Hispanic, and there are two Catholic churches in the neighborhood, as well as many other churches in various sizes. We will not know for sure if we Cavazos will work out until after spring break. We have also chosen possible back up locations for the camp in case Cavazos doesn’t work out
We have chosen our theme for this year. Our theme is: I am a Child of God based on John 1:12. We have not selected the order or scriptures for the daily themes, but the daily themes are: I am Chosen by God, I am Loved by God, I am a Friend of God, I am Special to God, and I have Purpose in God. This theme is exciting, and there are so many contemporary worship songs along the same line, for I am sure worship will be awesome like always.
This year, we are also changing our volunteer orientations. We require our volunteers to complete orientation on a regular basis. It amazes me, but even after 16 years, new issues arise, and we have to prepare for them. For example, last year, we added a Lubbock ISD police officer at camp each day. This year, we will enhance our camp safety measures more. This year our entire volunteer orientation will be available online, and can be completed at the volunteers’ convenience (as long as it done before camp starts). The camp leadership team feels this will be easier on everyone. We will require new volunteers to attend a new volunteer orientation. We feel we need to meet with new volunteers in person, than online. On the Saturday before camp, we will have our Camp Walk Though. This will be the third year we have done a walk through. The walk through will be held on the campus where sports camp will take place. The walk through allows us a chance to bring our supplies to camp, get things set up before Monday, for everyone to learn the locations where everything will be located, and for our volunteers to get to know each other before camp. We will have dates and more information on the volunteer orientations available in our next newsletter. Camp sponsorships will still be $25 per child.
Sports Camp Follow-up event
The last few years, we have hosted a Christmas party for the children who attended sports camp that year. This has allowed us a chance to see some of the children away from camp. This year, we had to cancel the party, since we had a big snow on the day of the party. We have decided on February 9th to host a Valentine’s Party for the children. I have decided Valentines is a good time to talk to the children about God’s love. The event will only last a couple of hours, but I am sure the children will have fun. We plan on asking the families that attend the event if any of them would be interested in meeting once a month through May or June, so we can begin teaching the children the basics of the Christian faith, and help them build a strong foundation in Christ.
Annual Golf Tournament
Our annual golf tournament is scheduled for May 4th. Right now we are planning on hosting the golf tournament at Shadow Hills Golf Course and plan on teeing off at noon. The format will be a 4-person scramble, and the cost will be $100 per person. We will have different sponsorship opportunities available. Like always, we try to give our participants the best gift bag possible as well as awesome door prizes, so we are always looking for local restaurants and businesses who would like to donate items for the door prizes and gift bags. Please let me know if you or someone you know would be able to make a donation for these items. We always welcome anyone to come help us seek donations for these items as well. There are a lot of restaurants in Lubbock, for one persons to try to contact on their own.
A New Look to our web page & Social Media Presence
Our web page: www.livingabundnatlytx.com has been hosted the last two or three years by ourchurch.com. After being with them for a few years, they “redesign” your web page, to give your page a new look. I am in the process of editing and adding new things to our web page, and we are excited to see it actually get launched. The new design allows us to do some new things. One, is we will have a section where we can highlight and promote our ministry partners and corporate sponsors (something we are trying to add). We also now have a section where we can have videos of the sermons I preach as well as sermon notes for each sermon as well. For those who didn’t know, I have been given to privilege to preach at least once a month at New Millennium Baptist Church. The web address to the page will remain the same. We are hoping to have the new page up by the middle of February, so keep your eyes open for the new page.
In connection to the web page, we realize that we need to do a better job utilitzing social media. To be honest, the only social media I regularly use is Facebook. I keep track of things going on through it, but I do not regularly post personal things, and seldom will post ministry related posts. I know I need to do better. The ministry has a twitter account and Instagram, but again they have not been really used. I know I have to do better, using social media. This week, we have launched a YouTube channel. We have begun videotaping and using Facebook live when I preach, and so we will posts the sermons on YouTube as well. We can also post our sports camp videos, and videos from camp on there as well. If you regularly use YouTube, search for Living Abundantly Ministries and subscribe to our channel.
Like everything else in life, social media can be good as well as evil. I am saddened by how much negative and personal things people post on social media. At the same time, social media allows us a chance to get Christ focused messages out there as well. Sometimes when I preach there is a small crowd at church, but then I will check later, and many people have viewed it on Facebook. We will never fully know who hears our messages or how God uses them. If you have any ideas on how we can use social media better than we are, please let me know.
Ways to Support Living Abundantly Ministries Online
i wanted to remind everyone of the ways you can support Living Abundantly Ministries if you do any online shopping. The ways are listed below.
FlipGive. FlipGive is an “online” shopping mall. There are many different stores and restaurants. These include Nike, JC Penneys, Target, and Wal-Mart. Each business gives back a different percentage back to us. Here is the link to our FlipGive fundraiser https://www.flipgive.com/teams/43796-living-abundantly-ministries
Great American Store. This site allows you to purchase items from magazines to tumblers, to other fun items. Here is the link. www.gaschoolstore.com our organization id is: 5136346. When it asks for student id, just click skip this step.
Amazon.com If you purchase anything from Amazon, you can support us as well. Go to the following webpage. smile.amazon.com/ch/75-3153403 This is an ongoing opportunity for the ministry.
Recognizing Those who Made 2018 a Success
The following gave their time, finances, or in some cases both, to make 2018 another awesome year of ministry. If we left anyone off the list we apologize. Here is the list: Aldersgate Church, Allard Inc. (Mike Bean), Asbury UMC, Amazon, Ella Ashley, Nathan Ashley, Eddie Avery, Luther & Janie Bailey, Joyce Bartlett, Greg Bassinger, Betenbough Homes, Shorty & Glenna Bilberry, Tess Bliss, Tony Bliss, Dorothy Brophy, Richard Bulson, Caylene Caddell, Donajean Caffey, Abbie Calderon, Ken & Debbie Campbell, Unise Cardenas, Ricardo Chavez, Jeremiah Christopher, Peggy Clark, Brent Coffey, Karlee Combest, Camari Conner, Kazaria Conner, Kazayia Conner, Cameron Cooks, Lyndi Criswell, Linda Davis, Cheyeanne DelosSantos, DG Marketing, Monea Embers, Lee & Cynthia Eulenbach, Brandi Everett, Cadon Everett, Chadd Everett, Keagon Everett, Kolton Everett, Reagon Everett, Angel Ewings-Rodriguez, Lupita Felan, First Bank & Trust, Alexis Flores, Anita Flores, Jon & Marcia Furbee, Madison Gilmore, Thomas Golden, Hank & Gwen Greer, Genye Guinn, Marquis Guinn, Dave Hagberg, Ava Hannon, Don & Sue Hargis, Ricky Hartline, Maria Hernandez, Sandra Hernandez, Sindy High, Linda Hiracheta, Christopher Hopper, Gary Horton, Keyondra Horton, Ola Horton, Cash Howard, Bob Hunsucker, Breck Hunsucker, Corky & Barbara Hunsucker, Terry & Sheri Hurst (In memory of L.J. & Grace Hurst), David Jackson, Jimmy Johns, Destiny Jones, JW Data, Gerry Kastman, Gabriella Kirkwood, Sharon Kirkwood, Cade Landrum, Milton Lee, James Lewis, Kamri Lindley, Lubbock Dream Center, Al Manny, Cullen Manny, Nancy Manny, Aramis Manriquez, Erma Manriquez, Ethan Manriquez, Jocelyn Mares, Jim McCurin, Brad & Rusty McDonald, Craig & Ann McDonald, Kevin McGaha, Mackenzie McGarry, Jeremiah Medina, Danny Milburn, Bo & Helen Minnis, Jacob Moncrief, Mark Monette, Esther Moses, Joyce Munsch, E.V. & Jeanie Murphy, New Millennium Baptist Church, Laura Offffutt, Savannah Pannell, Dawn Parr, Roberta Patterson, Jazala Perry, Steven Pierce, Kraig & Connie Pitman, Noah Posada, Kenneth Powell, Hunter Preston, Jasmine Puente, Nathan Puente, Gracie Ramos, Stephanie & Heyward Ramsey (in memory of Brad Burke), Tom Rask, Greg & Maxine Ricks, Rising Star Baptist Church, Scott Robertson, Emmanuel Rosa, Mark & Esther Saldavar, Gleen Samuels, Bobby Sanders, Ronald Sanders, Rick Smith, Judy Smyer, Eddie Sosa, Terica Starkes, Emily Thompson, Hollie Thornburg, Michael & Penny Tibbets (in honor of Nancy Manny), Robert & Catherine Tuggle, Nathan Ursua, Brea Varnell, Gabirela Vasquez, Jaclyn Vasquez, Bill Waller, Colleen Waller, Richard & Karen Wampler, Melanie Whiting, Karin Whitten, Mark & Suzette Williams, David Wilson, Fred Wilson, Tabatha Wilson, Luke Womble, Roger Wolcott, Wound Care Center, Bill & Karen Wrench, Jamardrick York, Daniel Young, Natalia Young
Year End Giving & Special Financial Gifts
We were financially blessed last year. We got special financial gifts from Betenbough Homes and from Caylene Caddell that were very generous. We were also blessed to have people who gave generously to us in our year-end giving. The following blessed us at the end of the year. Dorothy Brophy, Peggy Clark, Jon & Macia Furbee, Dave Hagberg, Corky & Barbara Hunsucker, Terry & Sheri Hurst, Gerry Kastman, Al & Nancy Manny, Bo & Helen Minnis, Mark Monette, Joyce Munsch, E.V. & Jeanie Murphy, Roberta Patterson, Stephanie & Heyward Ramsey, Hollie Thornburg, Michael & Penny Tibbets, and Richard & Karen Wampler.
We used the year-end money to buy some things that were needed such as ink toner for the year, stamps for our mailings, and paid for our storage for a whole year. We were also able to purchase a new video camera that is capable of making quality videos of sermons and other ministry events. We also used some of the money to purchase gift cards for businesses that we get stuff from throughout the year. These places include Sams, Walmart, Office Depot, and Academy. The reason we purchase gift cards is that way we do not suffer if giving in this year is not what it has been in previous years. This enables us to prepare for sports camp without having to worry about the finances being there to cover all the expenses.
Ways to Connect with Us
I wanted to make sure that everyone has ways to contact the ministry. Our office phone number is 806-368-8983. Our mailing address is: Living Abundantly Ministries * P.O. Box 16491* Lubbock, TX 79490. Our web page is www.livingabundantlytx.com. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org . Don’t forget you can also find us on: Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. If you received this newsletter through the mail, and are capable or desire to receive it through email, you can subscribe to the newsletter at the following link: https://livingabundantlytx.com/connect-with-us/newsletter/.