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David's Supply Chain Disruptions, Deliverer, and Song
By Uzziel Maldonado
 
 “Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, the God of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.”  Psalms 51:14 NKJV
 
With their larger-than-life flags waving high in the sky, inflatable mascots tirelessly waiving on rooftops, and precariously parked trucks displaying the latest features, new car dealerships know how to get our attention.  Head down any major highway, and you will most likely encounter the bright lights of a dozen new car dealerships within a few minutes.  In days past, they were filled with new cars and trucks with a plethora of colors and features to satisfy the insatiable appetite of the American consumer.  Lately though, at least in my drives, I have seen these new car dealerships are mostly empty.  When I stopped and asked why, the salesman explained that the higher prices and the low inventory are due to the "supply chain disruptions" that are plaguing our global economy.  Who would have imagined that this tiny virus (click
here to see a size comparison of virus) could disrupt the world?

Well, the truth is that the local and global economy has always been fragile, and depended on natural resources, infrastructure, technology, a healthy workforce, diplomatic relations, the weather, trust in a currency, etc, and more importantly, the grace of God.  Every “player” (nature, governments, entrepreneurs, investors, producers, and consumers) had to do their job individually for the “game” to continue collectively.  These factors are not necessarily new.  We also see them at work in the Bible. For example, drought was a major economic disruptor and contributed to migration and invasion. Can you think of anyone who traveled from Canaan to a more stable Egypt?  Other factors can also cause disruption.  In the case of King Ahab, drought, a disruptor in and of itself, was caused by spiritual backsliding and sin, the original and most disruptive of all.  David experienced his spiritual disruption after the guilt of bloodshed and his abuse of power and person unsettled his conscience (Psalms 51).  Of course, David and his men had previously experienced economic disruption due to the insecurity and jealousy of Saul towards David.  David had lost his job at the king's court as a musician and military advisor.  He lost his wife, Michal, as well as contact with his parents and siblings.  He lost his home and his freedom.  Even so in the midst of a disrupted lifestyle and economy, David’s mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical needs were met daily by a mighty God.  Psalms 5:3 says “my voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; In the morning I will direct it to you and I will look up.”  David placed his hope on the justice and mercy of God, His promises, and His timing.  He had learned to cherish, remember and proactively collect (journaling perhaps?) his own Ebenezer stones (1 Samuel 7:12) and even put them in writing (poems) and song.  Thus, God’s past deliverance and greatness (See also 1 Samuel 17:34-37) were showcased and memorialized.  What about you and me?  What past deliverances can we turn into a poem or song?  Better yet, who can we share them with during this season of Thanksgiving? 
The Stewpot is produced by the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and is emailed to our department in the middle of the month.  This month we are expecting it by November 15.  We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause.  You will find the latest and archived Stewpot available for download here.
Jeff Altemus, Elder at the Houston International Seventh-day Adventist 
Stewardship is a total lifestyle."  It involves our temple, time, talents, testimony, and treasure.  Below you will find a story from within the Texas Conference of a couple doing their best to be faithful stewards at their church and community.

Stewardship Heroes: Marla & Jeff Altemus

Jesus' message to the Samaritan woman is that "whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life" (John 4:14).  This water of life "satisfies our longing as nothing else can do" and spills out of our lives to bless others.  That is why we want to express gratitude toward our testators Marla & Jeff who serve and provide physical and spiritual support at their home, church, and community.

On October 28-31, 2021, Marla and Jeff Altemus, along with Pastor Brandon Zambrano and other parents, volunteers, and children from the Houston International SDA Church, attended the Southwestern Union Pathfinder Camporee titled "It's My Time."  Though the ground had plenty of grass burrs, some wind gusts were strong enough to blow tents down, and it was cold enough to keep many shaking through the night, this Pathfinder Camporee did not disappoint those who attended.  The event, which is targeted to children ages ten to fourteen (10-14), had plenty of activities, honors (blacksmithing, basket weaving, etc.), and team building events for the entire family.  Many kept active pin trading, and many more enjoyed reconnecting with friends and family from across our Union.  Of course, this is all done with Christ as the cornerstone and foundation.  Thus powerful sermons, music, and skits for children and by children were also part of the event.  But those who bring the precious youth to these events and invest time, patience, energy, effort, and money into the lives of these Pathfinders are parents like Jeff and Marla.  They not only value Jesus for themselves and their family but also want the Root and Branch (Isaiah 11:1) to grow and bear fruit in others as well.  But this was not always the case.

Jeff and Marla met at Louisiana State University.  She was Adventist but he was not.  After they married they arrived at Houston and eventually began attending the Houston International Seventh-day Adventist Church.  It was there that Jeff slowly began to get more involved in church (deacon, elder) and Pathfinders.  "I love problem-solving and a Pathfinder Club is full of challenges that I enjoy helping with."  Their desire to help and serve led to more requests and opportunities.  They even assisted as Adventurer Area Coordinators overseeing other Adventurer Clubs as well as theirs.  Even though Jeff and Marla are not directing as before, they are still investing in young people and supporting their efforts to serve Christ.

Marla and Jeff have been married for 27 years and have four children, two of which are still Pathfinders.  Thank you Marla and Jeff for being faithful stewards and an inspiration to others. 

 
Houston International SDA Pathfinder Club
SWU Pathfinder Campore
Counsels on Stewardship
by Ellen G. White
 
"It is utter folly to defer to make a preparation for the future life until nearly the last hour of the present life. It is also a great mistake to defer to answer the claims of God for liberality to His cause until the time comes when you are to shift your stewardship upon others. Those to whom you entrust your talents of means may not do as well with them as you have done. How dare rich men run so great risks? Those who wait till death before they make a disposition of their property, surrender it to death rather than to God. In so doing, many are acting directly contrary to the plan of God plainly stated in His word. If they would do good, they must seize the present golden moments, and labor with all their might, as if fearful that they may lose the favorable opportunity."

Counsels on Stewardship 325.1

To continue reading this chapter click
here.
Gift Options

Every month we include a different estate planning option to advance the Lord's work.  This month we are discussing gifts of life insurance and IRA Rollovers.
Simple Ways to Give Gifts of Life Insurance and IRA Rollovers
by Lynette Ecord

If you are one of the many who wish you could do more to support your local church, school, Lake Whitney Ranch, Educational Endowment Fund, Community Services, Evangelism, or one of the many other areas of ministry within the Texas Conference, life insurance can be an effective and convenient asset to give.
           
There are various ways to make life insurance donations, but the simplest way is to name the Texas Conference as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy. If you have reached the stage in your life where your home is paid for and your children are grown, then you may no longer have a need for the life insurance proceeds or the entirety of them. Making a charity such as the Texas Conference the beneficiary also ensures the privacy of the gift, if that is important to you, and provides a lasting legacy for the ministries that are special to you.

If you are in or near retirement and have been saving money, then you probably know that investing with a traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA) offers a tax-advantaged way to save money over many years. The two main benefits of a traditional IRA are the ability to invest pre-tax dollars and the fact that you do not have to pay taxes on your investments until you start taking income distributions.  At age 72 (age 70-1/2 for those born before July 1, 1949), the IRS requires you to take IRA withdrawals in statutorily mandated, annual increments known as “Required Minimum Distributions” (RMDs).  RMDs are subject to ordinary income taxes and more taxable income may push you into a higher tax bracket, which can lead to effects on your Social Security income and Medicare benefits.  And if you don’t take your RMDs, you could be subject to a 50% penalty on the amount that wasn’t withdrawn.
 
For charitably minded retirees, however, there is a tax-relief strategy available.  It is called the Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD). The QCD allows you to instruct the administrator of your IRA to direct the distributions – up to $100,000 per year – to a qualified 501 (c)3 charity such as the Texas Conference.  Because the income goes directly to charity, you don’t report it as taxable income and don’t owe any taxes on it.  It’s a win for you and a win for the ministry.
 

For more information regarding gifts of life insurance and IRA rollovers  contact us at 817-790-2255

November 2021
Below is a list of awareness events taking place this month.  Some may encourage you to visit a health professional for a procedure or check-up, others may encourage you to have the home inspected or have something installed, and still others may encourage you to send a card or express gratitude to a friend or loved one.  We hope this may serve as a friendly reminder, a gentle nudge, and a source of inspiration for ministry opportunities as plans are made this month.  Happy November!   

Texas Conference November Offering Schedule 
  • 6:  Local Church Budget
  • 13:  Radio Ministries (GC)
  • 20:  Local Church Budget
  • 27:   Texas Vision:  This offering is divided evenly between the following Texas Conference Projects: academies, church building projects, evangelism, and Lake Whitney Ranch.
Kids Jokes


What do you call a running turkey?               Fast food!

If the pilgrims were alive today, what would they be most famous for?             For living so long!

A turkey was arrested. What were the charges?                           Fowl play!

What should you wear to Thanksgiving this year?                          A har-vest!

What kind of music did the pilgrims listen to?                            Plymouth Rock!

What’s a turkey’s favorite dessert?                                      Peach gobbler!

Why didn’t the turkey eat a bite at Thanksgiving dinner?               He was completely stuffed!


What instrument does a turkey play?               The drum, because it already has drumsticks!


What key has legs and can't open doors?                      A tur-key!

For more jokes click here
Life is uncertain. Don't wait till the last minute to have things in order. Protect your property and your family. Get started on your Last Will and Testament today. We can help!
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Important Documents to Have...

Is it time to update your documents?

  • Have you moved to Texas and need to create new documents?
  • Do you need to name a legal guardian for your minor children on your Will?
  • Are your children grown and financially independent and you would like to change the distribution of your estate?
  • Do you need to add or remove beneficiaries on your Will?
  • Would you like to include a gift to the Lord's Work in your Will?
If you answered 'yes' to any of the above questions, then it may be time to review and update your Will.

Contact the Texas Conference Trust Department to update your documents at 817-790-2255 ext. 2105 or reply to this email.
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