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Good Seeker
by Jerrod Songy


"One who diligently seeks good seeks favor, But one who seeks evil, evil will come to him."  Proverbs 11:27

I've been at Summer camp this week blessed with the chance to serve as one of the Camp Pastors, and the theme for the week is "See the good," based on the Proverb above. Looking at the Bible from the perspective of this verse has been a tremendous eye-opener to me as I have strong tendencies, not towards looking for "evil" per-se, but towards looking for the negative, being critical, and/ or having a pessimistic outlook. Of course, in my denial, I would probably tell you that I simply look at most situations in life as a realist. 

Truth be told though, at the end of the day I know that I rarely look for the good, or the "silver lining," and that being a "realist" is still a far cry from being positive, optimistic, or looking at the glass as half-full instead of half-empty. 
 
Jesus himself says in Matthew 7 that "those who seek, find." And I've realized like never before that if I don't intentionally look for the good, that I will NOT find it. If instead, you find what you look for, then my persistent identification looking for the bad is going to miss a LOT of good that God has provided in this life.
 
What about you, friend, what are your tendencies? The sinful nature in all of us surely skews us to "seek evil" in whatever form that takes, BUT when we make the conscious choice, to diligently seek good, we can find favor. And not just favor, but joy and peace and hope and so much more.
 
I know with all my heart that God looks for the good in me, and He looks for the good in you! He always hopes, He always trusts, His love never fails, never gives up, and is never pessimistic. I want to be more like God in this and really, diligently look for the good. Look for it every day, in every challenging situation, in every difficult person, and trust that God will help me find favor INSTEAD of dwelling looking for the negative.
 
If you consider yourself an optimist, I praise God, if you consider yourself a realist or pessimist, or maybe just know that you have room to grow and improve your diligent seeking of good, then I invite you to join me in starting the month fresh, the day fresh, or just this next moment, in looking for the good!

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 July 15.  We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause.  You will find the latest and archived Stewpot available for download in Spanish and English here.
Stewardship

Heroes
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 someone doing her best to be a faithful steward in her community and church.
Houston Steward:
Elizabeth Pe
ña

 
We look forward to the day when there will be no more tears or pain. In the meantime, we are called to be the body of Christ, meet needs, and provide a message of hope and grace.  That is why we want to express gratitude toward Elizabeth who has a missionary spirit and provides physical, emotional, and spiritual support at her workplace, church, and community. 

Elizabeth was born in the Dominican Republic but her father and family prayed and accepted an invitation to serve in Puerto Rico.  Her father, an Adventist pastor, helped preach the gospel through the Adventist radio station there. Before any major decision, they would pray.  Though young, Elizabeth learned to trust in God and in His guidance.  For college, Elizabeth studied at Antillean Adventist University, where she studied to be a respiratory therapist.  Upon completing her studies, she turned to her God to guide her toward the next step.  That is how she ended up in Houston, Texas. Eventually, she continued her studies and finished a Master's in Public Health and serves as a health educator at the Center for Childhood Injury Prevention at Texas Children's Hospital. 

On Sabbath, Elizabeth is usually preaching, or singing.  Though she accepts invitations to preach in English and Spanish, Elizabeth served for eight years as the Adventist Youth director for the Houston Korean Seventh-day Adventist Church.  Why?  It was not because she was fluent in Korean but because God led her there.  That is how Elizabeth met Kea Foerster, who had migrated from Korea and had been working in the states for some time but had been invited to attend the Houston Korean SDA church.  The friendship grew after Kea was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  Kea, who longed for peace, truth, and friendship first needed to let her guard down with someone whom she could trust.  Trust takes truth, time, consistency, and patience in order to grow.  Elizabeth, like other neighbors, friends, and SDA church family, would check up on Kea regularly while she was undergoing chemotherapy.  Kea was hopeful she would make a complete recovery but even after all the medical intervention, the cancer still persisted.  Elizabeth's calls, visits and walks encouraged Kea to trust in God and His promises.  To Elizabeth, Kea was Jesus (Matthew 25:40).  To Kea, Elizabeth was a driver, sister, friend, and a true servant of God.  To God, Elizabeth and Kea are both His stewards.  Elizabeth was a steward of the mysteries of God or truth (1 Corinthians 4:1) and her testimony (Revelation 12:11).  Elizabeth surrendered everything to her God for Him to guide her moment by moment.  Eventually, Kea did too.  


 Thank you Elizabeth for being a faithful steward and an inspiration to others. 
Stewardship Works: Lake Whitney Ranch & Summer Camp
by Uzziel Maldonado

"You must accept the kingdom of God as a little child accepts things, or you will never enter it."
Mark 10:15 (International Children's Bible)

Whereas Adventist Education (church school) is described as a ten-month evangelist series, summer camp is Vacation Bible School on steroids.  In other words, summer camp is an intentional, well-staffed, multifaceted, multi-sensory, multi-generational ministry to help children, youth,  young adults, and staff really love Jesus.
In her book, How to Help Your Child Really Love Jesus:  Practical Suggestions for Instilling Spiritual Values, Donna J. Habernicht, Ed.D. comments on Mark 10:15 by asking a few questions.

What kind of religion can babies and toddlers learn?  Certainly not the 2,300 days or the seven last plagues!  Their spiritual lessons are much more basic than the fine points of doctrine.  The first step in the religious life consists of love, trust, and obedience, and they remain the cornerstone of religion during all of early childhood.  They are the spiritual lessons that eventually lead toward a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.  If young children experience love and trust and learn to obey, their foundation for their spiritual experience will be strong.  However, in addition, children absorb a great deal more about religion during early childhood. p.46

Ideally, this task of providing consistent love, trust, and obedience rests primarily in the home and extended family.  Ideally, the church and school only serve to support and reinforce this foundation established by mother and father.  The reality, however, is that consistent love, trust and obedience are not always present or balanced in every home.  The reality is that broken homes exist within the church and many, if not most, children, youth and young adults in our churches are not homeschooled, do not attend an Adventist school, or attend church regularly or participate in the established youth ministries (Adventurer and Pathfinder Clubs).  Thus a week out in nature as is experienced in summer camp can be more than a mere retreat.  It can be a reprieve from the bogs in life and an encounter with God.  

Summer camp staff are intentional about providing these foundations for a strong spiritual experience.  Summer camp staff do so by incorporating lots of play in the day.  In the book Adventist Home by Ellen White, the author comments on the importance of quality time between parents, teachers, and children she says. "If they would gather the children close to them and show that they love them, and would manifest an interest in all their efforts and even in their sports, sometimes even being a child among children, they would make the children very happy and would gain their love and win their confidence."  p. 192.4.  Thus through the facilities and staff, the children receive a safe and secure atmosphere, plentiful rest, delicious meals served regularly, wholesome chores and recreation, quality crafts, and spiritual values.  As great as all of this is for children and campers, it is equally important to provide this for the staff who consist mostly of youth and young adults in high school or college.  What a great ministry that works!  Summer camp at Lake Whitney Ranch then is another opportunity for caring adults to invest in eternity one child at a time. Please continue to pray for the staff, campers, development and ministry that occurs at Lake Whitney Ranch.  
Counsels on Stewardship Clips
by Ellen G. White
 
“The Lord would have His followers dispense their means while they can do it themselves. Some may inquire, “Must we actually dispossess ourselves of everything which we call our own?” We may not be required to do this now; but we must be willing to do so for Christ's sake. We must acknowledge that our possessions are absolutely His, by using of them freely whenever means is needed to advance His cause. Some close their ears to the calls made for money to be used in sending missionaries to foreign countries, and in publishing the truth and scattering it like autumn leaves all over the world."
Page 324 paragraph 1

This selection was taken from the book Counsel on Stewardship by Ellen White.  To read more click here.
GIFT

OPTIONS


Every month we include a different estate planning option to advance the Lord's work.  This month we are discussing endowements.
Endowment Funds -
What Are They and How Do They Work?


by Lynette Ecord

An endowment is a fund that non-profit organizations such as the Texas Conference use to accept and hold donations from charitable donors for a specific cause/use/purpose.  Distributions from an endowment fund are made on a regular basis (as specified in the Endowment Agreement) and are generally limited to the income earned on the investment of the monies that were donated to the endowment fund.  Because of this, endowments are perpetual, meaning that they will continue to provide support on an ongoing basis.

 
 
There are currently several endowment funds that benefit various schools within the Texas Conference, as well as an endowment that benefits students who need tuition assistance.  Although these endowments have already been established, most of them continue to accept donations to the principal of the fund.  If you would like to make a tax-deductible charitable donation to an endowment fund you can do so at any time.  You can also include a gift (bequest) to an endowment fund in your Will or Trust.  Contact us for information on what our current endowment funds are benefiting.   For information on what is required to set up a new endowment fund please click here to read our Gift Acceptance Policy.
 

WEBSITE

UPDATES


It is our mission to advance the Lord's work by providing:
  1. 1) estate planning INFORMATION
  2. 2) estate planning DOCUMENT PREPARATION and
  3. 3) estate planning FIDUCIARY REPRESENTATION
We strive to empower members, pastors, churches, and schools in our territory to share the gospel message with their friends and communities.  This month you will find Will samples of the Founding Fathers of the United States! We respect and honor them for their bravery and foresight in establishing a country that values and protects freedom of conscience.  Notice that many not just had a Will but updated it to better reflect their changing wishes.  Notice how they applied their foresight in their personal lives.  Notice how they expressed to their family and the courts their faith, and plan to care for the things they valued (life, liberty, family, education, government, etc.).  Use it as a way to encourage more Americans and church members to have an estate plan.  It is part of our patriotic and heavenly (Hebrews 9:15,16) heritage!

We aim to provide the latest, relevant information regarding estate planning on our website.  This free resource is for all who visit!  So spread the word and experience the joy of giving estate planning information! #ExperienceTheJoyOfGiving  
July

Humor


4th of

July

Jokes

  1. What is the most patriotic tea?… Liber-Tea!
  2.  
  3. What do ducks love about the fourth of July?… Fire-quakers!
  4.  
  5. What do firecrackers eat at the movies?... Pop-corn.
  6.  
  7. Why does the Statue of Liberty stand for freedom?... Because she can't sit.
  8.  
  9. Why aren't there any knock-knock jokes about the U.S.A.?...Because freedom rings!
  10.  
  11. What was the most popular dance in 1776?  The Indepen-dance!
  12.  
  13. What did the flag do when it lost its voice?...It just waved.
 

For more click here.

July 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 June!   

Texas Conference Offering Schedule
July
  • 5:  Local Church Budget
  • 10:  Word Budget (GC)
  • 17:  Local Church Budget
  • 24:   Texas Vision:  This offering is divided evenly between the following Texas Conference Projects: academies, church building projects, evangelism, and Lake Whitney Ranch.
  • 31:  Local  Church Budget
September 
  • 12-24: Determined 2021 Cycling Tour for Health and Educational Support
    • The Texas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists is hosting the fifth annual Determined Ride (formerly called Tour de Youth), a 14-day cycling tour from McAllen, Texas, to Richardson, Texas, for the benefit of students throughout Texas. This cycling tour will be a physical challenge as well as an endeavor in humanitarian efforts.  For more information click here.
North American Division Calendar 

Want the Sunset Calendar? Click here.

May our good God inspire and guide us as we consider ways to serve Him!
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!
Click here to reply
Important Documents to Have...

Perhaps this is a good time to have your important documents in order...

  • 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.

Meet our Team

Email Lynette
Email Sofia
Email Jerrod
Email Deyvy
Email Uzziel

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