Here is a question for those of you who have an I-phone or smart phones. What are your favorite apps? I am sure that we all have a varied collection of apps on our phones. Some may have fun apps while others have more “serious” focused apps. Well, here are some of the apps on my phone: CNN, ESPN, the weather channel app, a Bible app, some that my phone developer have there that I don’t even know what they are for. Some of my other apps are a crossword app, a jigsaw app, and a solitaire app. I used to have other apps like cookie jam, but I finally realized I was spending too much time and resources of such apps.
You might be surprised of my most used apps. They are fitbit and google fit. I got a new phone last fall, and it had the LG health app, so I started tracking my steps. Which have now led to me becoming a person who walks on a regular basis. Some may be saying, “it is about time you did something healthy”. I have lost about 8 pounds since the beginning of November. I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, but I made a goal of walking 3 million steps this year. That comes out to 8,200 steps each day. Well, here is my progress. Currently I am averaging over 12,600 steps a day. On average, they say about 2,000 steps equals one mile. So I am averaging over 6 miles a day. Most days, I walk for a solid 45 minutes or an hour.
Needless to say, I have become quite focused on steps. The Bible talks about taking steps. Here are 6 Bibles verses that talk about steps in relation to our relationship with God. Psalm 37:23-24 & 30-31 “If you do what the Lord wants, he will make certain each step you take is sure. The Lord will hold your hand, and if you stumble, you still won’t fall. Words of wisdom come when good people speak for justice. They remember God’s teachings, and they never take a wrong step”. Psalm 111:10 “Respect and obey the Lord! This is the first step to wisdom and good sense. God will always be respected”. Proverbs 9:6 “If you want to live, give up your foolishness and let understanding guide your steps”. Proverbs 21:29 “Wicked people bluff their way, but God’s people think before they take a step”. Jude 1:21 “And keep in step with God’s love, as you wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to show how kind he is by giving you eternal life.”
I want to share an acronym of STEP that will help all of us live closer to the Lord this year.
Seek the Lord
Seeking the Lord should be the most important thing in our lives. When we should seek the Lord: 1 Chronicles 16:11 and Psalm 105:4 “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always”. We should seek the Lord at all times even when we don’t feel like it, and when it is difficult to seek for the Lord. Why we should seek the Lord: Isaiah 55:6-7 “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon”. Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened”. How we should seek the Lord. Psalm 63:1 “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water”. Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart”.
Trust the Lord
What does it mean to trust? The Biblical definition means a bold, confident, sure security, or action based on that security. There are 6 things that happens when we trust in the Lord. First the Lord directs our path. Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight”. Second, God does not forsake those who trust in Him. Psalm 9:10 “Those who know Second, God does not forsake those who trust in Him. Psalm 9:10 “Those who know your name, trust in you, for you, Lord has never forsaken those who seek you”. Third, God is good to those who trust in Him. Psalm 13:5-6, “But I trust in your unfailing love, my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me”. Fourth, if we trust in the Lord we will stand firm. Psalm 20:7-8 “Some trusts in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of our Lord. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm. Fifth, the Lord surrounds us with unfailing love. Psalm 32:10 “..but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him”. Sixth, God protects those who trust in Him. Psalm 56:4, “…In God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”.
Encourage One Another
When we encourage others, we give them the courage to face the issues they are facing. Why should we encourage one another? First it builds up others. 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up”. A second reason, when we encourage each other, it brings unity. 2 Corinthians 13:11 “encourage one another, be of one mind, and live in peace”. Who should we encourage. First, we should encourage the afflicted, just as the Lord does. Psalm 10:17 “You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry. We should also encourage other believers. Acts 15:32, “Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers”. The Bible tells us how we should encourage one another. We should encourage others through the scripture. Romans 15:4 “For everything that was written in the past was written to us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope”. We are instructed to encourage each other with sound doctrine (not our opinions). Titus 1:9 “… so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who approach it”.
Purpose to Live by and for
God’s purpose should be the driving force of our lives. Here are some things to know about God’s purposes. First if we live for God’s purposes, He will work our circumstances for our good. Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”. Second, the Lord’s purposes prevail. Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails”. Third, God’s purposes are to bless us. Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’”. The purpose for our life is that the Lord’s name might be glorified. Exodus 9:16, “But I have raised you up, for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth”. Fifth, God’s purposes is the reason He saved us. 2 Timothy 1:9 “He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace”. God’s purposes gives us life meaning and value. Acts 20:24, “I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace”.
So, where are your steps taking you? Let me be honest, our steps are either bringing us closer to God, or they are taking us away from the Lord. We need to examine our steps on a regular basis. There are times that we can get sidetracked, but we need to get back on the right track and get us back walking with the Lord. Let me give you some good news, If you find that your steps are taking you away from the Lord, all you have to do is repent and turn around and begin seeking the Lord. Here is the good news, the Lord is right there waiting for you to turn around and start walking towards the Lord. He is waiting with open arms, the same open arms that were nailed to the cross.
Let me finish the rest of the newsletter. It is time for one of my walks, so I can get a lot of steps in.
A New Web Page
Last fall, I decided it was time to invest in a new web page for the ministry. Ever since we launched in 2004, we have had a few people who were helping with the web page, but they either moved off or got busy. We have partnered with Ourchurch.com to do our web page. They are based out of Florida, and have been very helpful. Our new web page is www.livingabundantlytx.com. Go check it out, and let me know what you think. We have set up where volunteers can download or complete their volunteer application for sports camp through the web page. Parents can also register their children for camp through the web page, as well as get more information. You can also sign up to receive our newsletter on our web page, and we can also accept donations through the web page. I am excited to have a web page that is easy for me to edit, and is actually working.
All-Star Sports Camp
All-Star Sports Camp 2016 is set for July 18-22, and will be held at OL Slaton Middle School in Central Lubbock. We are excited to be back in East Lubbock, and we hope that some of the churches and ministries that worked with us last year, will be back to help with this year’s camp. We have already had a day care contact me about bringing the kids in their summer program this coming year. We have also begun looking at some new songs this year. Last year, we made a conscious effort to have prayer time each day during worship, so I am hoping to have someone else help lead worship during prayer time, so that I can pray with the children who need prayer.
This year our theme is Finish what you Start based on 2 Timothy 4:7-8 “I have fought well. I have finished the race, and I have been faithful. So a crown will be given to me for pleasing the Lord”. Our daily themes will spell out START. Monday will be Stay focused based on Hebrews 12:2. Tuesday will be Train for the Race based on 1 Timothy 4:8. Wednesday will be Ask God for strength based on Isaiah 40:31. Thursday we will discuss Run with perserverance based on James 1:12. On Friday, we will discuss Throw off sin based on Hebrews 12:1.
We are hoping to increase our number of volunteers. We will have our annual “kick-off brunch” in April, and we will begin having volunteer orientations in April as well, and will have at least one a month from April-July. You can get information about volunteer orientations on our web page.
GYM & GYL
We took last year off from GYM & GYL. Unfortunately we were in a season of life where it didn’t work out for me and Esther who helps with the program. We are planning on having a session of GYM & GYL this spring. We are planning on having an orientation on February 8th, and then meet every Monday from February 15th through April 18th. We will meet at Asbury UMC. We have a few students who have expressed interest in the program, so we are hoping to have four or five students in the program.
It has been interesting to take some time and think about GYM & GYL. Some of our graduates are on the right track while others have made some poor life choices. I understand we plant seeds, and we don’t get to see how it all turns out. At the same time, I do think we can do some things differently to improve the impact we have on the children. The thing I know for sure, is that one of our topics will be having a relationship with God. It all starts there. If you don’t have a relationship with God, you will not be a good leader, more likely to have anger problems, have trouble with forgiveness, and make dating and relationship choices that do not bring honor to God. We have always had the participants do Bible studies and have prayer time, but I know we can be more intentional in talking about having a relationship with God.
HIMpacT In December, we had a Christmas party with some of the children who attended sports camp. We had about 20 kids who came. They got to make Christmas ornaments, we had worship, and shared the true meaning of Christmas, and ended our time with cookies and hot chocolate.
We hope to have an Easter activity in March, and maybe have another activity right before summer starts.
Another thing we are considering is developing a component where we bring children from camp (especially those who make a commitment to God at camp) to a meeting once a month, where we teach them the basics of the faith. We have begun discussing this but have not made any firm commitment. We would probably start this program in August or September.
Our annual golf tournament will take place on April 30th. The tournament will be at the Reese Golf Course, and will begin at 1:00 pm. Lunch will be served at Noon. The format is a 4-man scramble, with the cost being $100 per player. Even if you don’t play golf, you can get involved. First, we are looking for sponsors for the tournament. We have 5 different options on sponsorships. Here are the five options. Bronze: $100 – Sponsors 4 children for All-Star Sports Camp, sponsorship recognition in program, tee box ad recognition. Silver: $300– Sponsors 12 children for All-Star Sports Camp, 1/4 page ad on program, tee box ad recognition, one player free. Gold: $600– Sponsors 24 children for All-Star Sports Camp, 1/4 page ad on program, tee box ad recognition, entire team free. Platinum- $900– Sponsors 36 children for All-Star Sports Camp, 1/4 page ad on program, tee box ad recognition, entire team free, Top billing on flyers and VIP- $1,200– Sponsors 48 children for All-Star Sports Camp, 1/2 page ad on program, tee box ad recognition, entire team free, Exclusive billing on flyers (first come, first serve). The other way to get involved is that we are trying to get door prizes and items for a silent auction. Good door prizes are coupons to local businesses and restaurants. Some of you may have a personal relationship with a business owner or a restaurant manager, and you might have more luck getting them to donate a door prize, more than we would be. Maybe you and some friends want to go in together and put together a gift basket together (dinner and movies, or lotion & candles). We would welcome anything that anyone wants to do. We are hoping to have more teams this year than we have in the past. So we are hoping to have 12-15 teams. Please pass along the information to anyone you know who plays golf or could help with door prizes or items for the silent auction.
Honoring to those who Invested in the Ministry in 2015
The following gave their time, money, or both to make 2015 a blessed year. Here are those that God used: Aldersgate Church, Alderson Cars, Allard Inc., Amazon Smile, Bobby Andrews, Gary Andrews, Eddie Avery, Luther & Janie Bailey, Charla Barger, Tess Bliss, Tony Bliss, Scott & Trayce Bradford, Dorothy Brophy, Caylene Caddell, Steven Caddell, Donajean Caffey, Abbie Calderon, Russell Chapman, Peggy Clark, Glenn Clayton, Brent Coffey, Lynn Criswell, Eddie Crowder, D Moses Consulting, Linda Davis, Jon Decker, Jonathan Delgado, Christina Desadier, Madalynn Duncan, Carrie Erwin, Wayne & Cynthia Eulenbach, Pat Farmer, Lupita Felan, First Bank & Trust, Anita Flores, Angelica Flores, Doc Fox, Jon & Marcie Furbee, Kamryn Furr, Angel Garcia, Maricela Garcia, Mia Gibson, Madison Gilmore, Scott Goodrich, Keith Graves, Dave Hagberg, Dre Hall, Rodney & Stacy Hall, Zhadai Hancock-Redwine, Julianna Hardesty, Ezequiel Herrera, Keyondra Horton, Corky & Barbara Hunsucker, Terry & Sheri Hurst, Natalie Johnson, Christa Kirkwood, Gabby Kirkwood, Sharon Kirkwood, Milton Lee, Lighthouse Fundraising, Roco Love, Jim Macke, Erek & Sara Mackey, Jim Mahurin, Brian Maines, Kenny & Sharon Maines, Al Manny, Cullen Manny, Nancy Manny, Aramis Manriquez, Erma Manriquez, Ethan Manriquez, John Manriquez, Rayna Manriquez, Brad & Mary McDonald, David & Spring McDonnell, Breanna McGaha-Osby, Danny Milburn, David Miller, Bo & Helen Minnis, Gyanni Molock, Kristin Montgomery, Casey Moses, Esther Moses, Joyce Munsch, E.V. & Jeanie Murphy, Kerri Nelson, New Millennium Baptist Church, Sherra Norvelle, Daniel & Lisa Odom, Nick & Brittini Olguin, Braxton Osborn, Ovations Food Services, Roberta Patterson, Casey Perales, Ramiro Perez, Steven Pierce, Leah Placencia, Adam Puente, Philip Quinn, Tom Rask, Real Property Resources, Russell Reyes, Eloy Reyna, Della Rios, Rising Star Baptist Church, Zoie Rivas, Leslie Roach, Gay Rockafellow, Gleen Samuels, LaRuthie Samuels, Ronald Sanders, Alice Schulz, Ron Schulz, Kem Smith, Judy Smyer, Southwest Business Systems, Southwest Regional Wound Care Center, Britt Steggs, Elizabeth Stone, Holly Stone, Straight Line Stripe & Seal, Stuart & Lela Tackitt, Mary Tibbets, Emily Thompson, Holly Thornburg, Robby Trevino, Robert & Catherine Tuggle, Mary Turner, Selena Vasquez, Colleen Waller, Kelsey Waller, Matt Ward, Nicole Warren, Breona Williams, DeAnn Williams, Kevin Williams, Petra Williams, Chris Wilson, David Wilson, Tabitha Wilson, Windmill Financial Services, Thomas & Florence Wizoreck, Bill & Karen Wrench, Jamardrick York, Destoney Young, and Natalie Young,