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So Loved He the World That He Gave Us His Son
By: Jerrod Songy

Can you think of a time when you desperately pleaded with God and He made His glory known to you in a powerful response? I had one of those experiences recently that brought me to the throne of God after the fashion of Hagar in the desert.
When we reach out to God through prayer, for whatever reason, I truly believe that God ALWAYS responds. There is no cry, praise, plea, challenge, request, or call to Him that He does not both hear (1 Jn 5:14) and answer (vs. 15). Now, without turning God into a “genie” or moving into the realm of “presumption” let me clarify by saying that God’s answers are sometimes affirmative (yes), sometimes negative (no), and sometimes indefinite (when/if you’re ready/delayed/no, for now,/grow first, etc.).  

 
It is also important to remember that in the midst of the Great Controversy, there is a very real “cause and effect,” “action and reaction,” as well as “choices and consequences.” If there is any doubt about this, we need look no further than the definitive example found within the Scripture promise of Romans 6:23a “For the wages of sin is death…”.  So for each of us, the ultimate cause/action/choice (sin) leads to the ultimate effect/reaction/consequence (death) “…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” - Romans 6:23b. Wow! God is so good to us, and ANY time that He withholds an effect, a reaction, a consequence whether great or small, it is by His mercy, grace, and love.

This brings me to my prayer request, see I “earn” quite a bit of trouble for myself every day through unintentional or even intentional poor choices (maybe you can relate). Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sold-out believer, on the journey of sanctification, walking with the Lord all the way, BUT the flesh is constantly at war with the spirit and I wouldn’t dare claim perfection. After all the only way we enter into eternity is through faith in the gracious blood of Jesus (our perfect substitute) not by our own works (Ephesians 2:8-10). So, in my imperfection, this past month I made a simple mistake (not a sin), I put my phone on the roof of our car. 

You probably know where this is going already but let me back up. My wife, son, and I had been to Sabbath School and Church that very morning, we enjoyed the worship and fellowship, and after packing a picnic lunch we headed out to spend time in nature at a nearby State Park. The weather was beautiful, the lake was calm, the trails were clean and even starting to show signs of Spring. It was a marvelous Sabbath experience and we praised God for it! As we were packing up to leave, for reasons I still can’t explain, I put my cell phone on the roof of the vehicle.  

Now, a cell phone is just a piece of metal, plastic, and glass, put together with various electronic components, it doesn’t have any “intrinsic” value, it’s not a family member or even a pet… yet it carries an incredible amount of “extrinsic” value, does it not? A phone can be used for some very important and meaningful things! For example, all of my family photo’s and videos were on my phone (irreplaceable), 650+ contacts (much of them work-related and not easily replaced/retrieved), my calendar of appointments (will I need an “excused absence?”), even access to important information like my mileage tracker for travel, a password keeper, currency-specific apps, and a Bible memory app that was tracking my progress so fantastically.

Yet within 20 minutes of leaving the park, I was jolted in the driver’s seat of our car as I remembered where I had last set my phone… A choice (that unintentionally proved a big mistake), with a tremendous consequence (one that only the God of heaven could redeem). Needless to say, we prayed immediately and asked for God to help us find the phone. We doubled back towards the park, frantic for the next 20 minutes. After we drove right back to the parking spot we had been at, we got out, looked all over… nothing! We prayed again, began the slow drive out of the park, windows rolled down, eyes on the road and the edges on both sides… nothing! We drove slowly back to the highway where we took the on-ramp, still nothing. The search continued for almost 2 hours with the whole family before I took them home, and returned myself again to pick up the hunt.

While praying, I believe God was helping grant wisdom, because new ideas were constantly coming to mind. Could I track it online? Can we make it ring (it was on silent)? Will someone find it and call us? Will they turn it in? Can the cell phone carrier locate it? Are there any apps on my phone that send out location? Generally, any single one of those solutions would have worked, but in my sensitivity (perhaps hypersensitivity) to privacy, practically all location features of my phone were off. *The silver lining here, if you want one, is truly you are “untraceable” by normal means when you disable all that stuff… in case you ever wondered about that 😊* 

Well, I returned home late that night, nearly midnight without any results and having attempted to comb nearly 25 miles of road and highway. The following day was much the same. I could dial the phone and check that it still had battery, but it just rang through until Voicemail, no one had found it, it was truly lost… my choice, my consequence. Still, I declared to myself that God was good all the time, I know God listens and I know He cares!  While I dare not put God in a box, there are times, after it is abundantly clear that all logical human options are exhausted, that God willingly (in His wisdom) smiles kindly on one of His children, and lets them know (through divine intervention) He not only sees the issue, but He has the answer! (Genesis 21:14-19) 

It had been nearly 24 hours since losing my phone, and 32+ hours since the last charge of the battery. I began making the appropriate contacts that I could (through e-mail, or my wife’s phone) to let others know I had lost my phone. I was getting ready to leave the house to go and visit a local cellular store to see what it would cost to buy a new phone and attempt to recover any of the data wirelessly (unlikely). Before leaving I tried logging in one more time remotely (from my computer to the phone’s main software website) just to see if I could locate it. Every attempt prior had ended with the popup “Location unknown,” but this time, beyond my comprehension, as I clicked locate, it said, “Last seen here: ” and it showed a location on a map! 

Oh the joy! Oh the praise! Oh the pure relief, that just can’t be put into words. It shouldn’t be so dramatic, I know, but it was and it is. Because the God of heaven located a “secure/private” cell phone on the edge of an on-ramp in the middle of a city, in the big state of Texas, on the continent of North America, upon this place we call Earth! For what reason? Because He is a God who cares, a God who loves, a God who wants to shield us from as much sin, pain, suffering, and even frustration, headache, stress that He can! In order to ultimately lead us back to a restored and redeemed relationship with Him, in His kingdom.  
It’s the same God who located Hagar and Ismael in the desert so many years ago. Who let them know He was watching and He had a plan, and He would care for them even when they had reached the human limits of caring for themselves. It’s a small thing for me, with a BIG lesson, and I pray for the same encouragement and experience for you. That no matter what’s going on, God is at the ready to listen, to hear, and to act, always in our best interest.  

There’s no human reason for my cell phone to have been found. The choices that I made, mistakenly, led to it being lost. God could have just as easily given me strength (and given all my work-relationships/friends/family patience) to get a new cell phone, and to start from scratch with my contacts, calendar, photos, passwords, etc. But He gave me an awesome gift instead… NOT my cell phone, no that was just “the icing on the cake,” He actually gave something far greater; an assurance of His mercy, His grace, and His deep loving care for me (for all of us His children). And a reminder of the ultimate redemption, from ALL my mistakes, through the blood of Christ. To God be the glory, great things He hath done! 
Download the April 2021 Stewpot 
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 a young woman who is doing her best to be a faithful steward at home, at work, and at play.
 
East Texas Stewardship Heroes: Nadine Lashier
 
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 Jesus, meet needs, and provide a message of hope and grace.  That is why we want to express gratitude toward our tireless members like Nadine Lashier who provide spiritual support to our children during this pandemic at our local churches and in their community. 

After completing her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Walla Walla University, Nadine pursued a degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Tennessee.  Upon completion of that master’s degree, she began working at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.  She has been working for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for twenty-one (21) years. Her current title is "Environmental Systems Instructor Group Lead".  This means that during the workweek Nadine spends her time training instructors about life support systems.  These instructors then train astronaut candidates and flight controllers as they prepare to contribute to humanity in space exploration.  Essentially, she helps others understand how humans can survive and thrive in space
 
On the weekends, Nadine trains youth and young adults through the Pathfinder ministry at the Houston Central Seventh-day Adventist Church.  Though she has served as a Pathfinder Houston Bay Area Coordinator for the past five years, her current title is Pathfinder Club director, a position she is also familiar with (8 years).  This means that she spends her time training instructors, counselors, and children "life support systems" as they prepare to contribute to humanity in earth's "exploration."  She helps others understand how humans can survive and thrive on earth.
 
However, the Houston Central church also has an interest in "reaching the world next door,"  which is to say, sharing the gospel with non-Christians, many of who have come from countries where the gospel may not be preached.   The international community closest to the Houston Central church is mostly from Vietnam.  However, the Houston Central church has also decided to support another targeted mission, namely, starting an evangelistic Adventurer and Pathfinder club with most children either being from Afghanistan or China. After receiving the
free missionary training seminars, Nadine’s friend encouraged her to provide support for this type of missionary exploration in apartment complexes such as Westward Square Apartments which house thousands of refugees. 
 
During the month of March, Nadine taught forty children the Space Exploration Pathfinder honor.  One boy expressed he would like to explore space when he grows up.  One girl expressed she would like to work at NASA like Nadine. 
 
By the grace of God, Nadine’s service at NASA has helped produce many astronauts, and her service at Houston Central has produced many Christian leaders and contributing members to church and society.  The Houston Central SDA Church and their Pathfinder Club are sponsoring this new missionary club with Pathfinder neckerchiefs and sashes.  Thank you, Nadine, for being a great example of a Christian steward who manages her time, talents, temple, treasure, and testimony!
*
Counsels on Stewardship Clips
by Ellen G. White
 
"Property is often bequeathed to children and grandchildren only to their injury. They have no love for God or for the truth, and therefore this means, all of which is the Lord's, passes into Satan's ranks, to be controlled by him. Satan is much more vigilant, keen-sighted, and skillful in devising ways to secure means to himself than our brethren are to secure the Lord's own to His cause." Page 323 paragraph 2

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

Every month we include a different ministry option to advance the Lord's work.  This month Adventist Community Services shared a recent experience of how God answers prayer through this ministry.

There is a God!
by Julie & Marshall Gonzalez
 
“There is a God!” shouted Robert as he was overcome with emotions. Robert had been without a job for a long time. He finally had an interview on Monday morning, but had a problem—he needed clothes. He went to his church Saturday night and prayed that God would provide him some clothes before Monday. Sunday morning, Robert was walking in the park when he saw the Texas Conference Adventist Community Services' (TXACS) disaster truck. He approached one of the volunteers and asked what was happening. He was told that we were giving away clothes. Robert asked if he could have some. “Yes,” was the reply. Robert completed the order form and waited for it to be filled. When Robert’s name was called and he was handed a bag, Robert looked inside and began to cry uncontrollably. Inside the bag, he found a new shirt, new socks, new undergarments, and pants. Through the tears Robert shouted, “God is real! Tell those people who are doing this ministry that they are doing God’s work! Tell everyone who comes for clothes there is a God!”
DEPARTMENTAL NEWS

Farewell Roger
by Uzziel Maldonado
 
We want to express gratitude toward our tireless members like Roger and Kathy Mekelburg who provide wisdom, expertise, and leadership to our conference churches, pastors, and members for more than twenty years of service. 
 
Roger was raised on a farm in Colorado.  After graduating from Adventist academies, Kathy and Roger met at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1978.  One year later, after Kathy had finished her nursing degree, they married and returned to work on the family farm.  While running the family farm, Kathy and Roger started their family (2 daughters, Talitha and Tiffany) and continued their education.  Roger finished his bachelor's degree in agriculture in 1988.  His associate's degree in accounting in 1990 and his master's in business administration in 1992.  In 1993 he was invited by Harvey Byrum the Planned Giving and Trust Services Director at the Iowa-Missouri Conference to work as a field representative and trust officer.  Roger continued his service there until February 2001. 

On March 1, 2001, (through the recommendation by Harvey Byrum) Roger joined the Texas Conference and worked as a field representative, trust officer, and trust accountant.  Shortly thereafter, Kathy joined Hugely hospital to serve as an outpatient nurse.  In 2012 Roger accepted the invitation to be the Planned Giving and  Trust Services Director and the Texas Conference Association Secretary.  Then in 2017 Roger also accepted to be the Building Consultant to oversee all building projects within the Texas Conference.
 
During his twenty-eight (28) years in ministry visiting church members and church board meetings, job sites, funerals, and court, Roger spent a lot of time on the road.  Though the mileage would vary from week to week, Roger drove approximately 700 miles a week or 40,000 miles a year.  This means that in his twenty-eight-year career he drove more than one million miles.  Roger says “the people I would visit, they were the real heroes.  They are God’s saints and had a desire to advance the Lord’s work.”  Roger assisted in the purchase, sale, and building of many (~54) churches, and schools.  Roger’s many emails and phone calls required time, diligence, and swift action, all of which required time and effort.  Many times, Roger was the first one at the office and the last one to leave.  Roger says, “I’m a person that likes a challenge.  But my biggest accomplishments involved being able to find the right facility for the congregation.” 
 
On March 1, 2021, Roger retired, and on March 4, the Texas Conference Office had a farewell party for him.  President Carlos Craig shared “we have deeply appreciated your presence here at the Texas Conference.  You have been a blessing here.  You have carried yourself with lots of professionalism.  We will remember your work ethic, your love for golf, and all the miles you have traveled.  Thank you for all of those years of service to God and his people.”


We thank Kathy and Roger for their ministry and service.  Their effort, sacrifice, and a great example of Christian stewardship.  You have advanced the Lord's work. and inspired a new generation.  
GIFT OPTIONS

Every month we include a different estate planning option to advance the Lord's work.  This month we consider gifts of appreciated stock.
Why Is Donating Shares of Stock To The Church A Good Idea?
by Lynette Ecord
 
The simple is because you can give more by donating the stock than by selling the stock and making a cash donation.  Why is that?  When you donate stock that you have owned more than a year to charity, there’s no capital gains tax.  If you sell the stock, you must pay a 20% capital gains tax.  By donating the stock to charity instead, you increase your gift by 20%!  By the way, you can also donate mutual funds or bonds.  This is one of the most tax-smart ways to give, because it saves you money and increases the gift to the charity. 
 
If you have stocks that you would like to donate to the Texas Conference to help build a bathhouse, open-air pavilion, summer camp cabins, or any of the other needs at Lake Whitney Ranch; or if you would like to support the ministries of Evangelism, Community Services, Disaster Relief, Christian Education, a local church or school project, or any of the other areas of ministry within our Conference, contact your investment advisor and let them know what you’d like to do. Then have your advisor contact us and we’ll be happy to work with them to facilitate your gift.  (See the Giving Menu on our webpage to see current needs and projects within the Conference).


For more information or to explore other options click
here.
April Humor


Dad Jokes
 

Q: When do gorillas fall from the sky?
A: During Ape-ril showers.

Q: Can February March?
A: No, but April May.

Q: Why is everyone so tired on April 1st?
A: Because they’ve just finished a long, 31 day March.

Q: Why is April so popular for using a trampoline?
A: It’s Spring-time!

Q: Which April flowers grow on faces?
A: Tulips (2 lips).

For more click
here.

 


WEBSITE UPDATES

We strive 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
It is our mission to empower members, pastors, churches, and schools in our territory to share the gospel message with their friends and communities.  This month on the "Giving Menu" you will find Adventist Community Services where we share options on how to impact Texas and the world today and tomorrow.  To see the Giving Menu click here.  

We strive 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  
April 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 March!   

Texas Conference Offering Schedule
April
  • 3:  Local Church Budget
  • 10:  Hope Channel
  • 17:  Local Church Budget
  • 24:   Texas Vision
Special Meetings:
  • Union Constituency: April 25
  • TX Conference Midterm Constituency: May 16 

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 
April

Awareness Calendar 
  • Alcohol Awareness Month
  • National Autism Awareness Month
  • National Child Abuse Prevention Month
  • National Donate Life Month
  • National Facial Protection Month
  • National Parkinson's Awareness Month
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrom Awareness Month
  • National Sarcoidosis Awareness Month
  • Occupational Therapy Month
  • Oral Cancer Awareness Month
  • Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month
  • Stress Awareness Month
  • Testicular Cancer Month
  • National Public Health Week: 1-7
  • Cesarean Awareness Month
  • Parkinson's Awareness Month
  • Children's Book Day: 2
  • Walk to Work Day: 3
  • Easter: 4
  • World Health Day: 7
  • Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day: 9
  • Siblings Day: 10
  • National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: 10
  • World Parkinson's Day: 11
  • National Youth Violence Prevention Week: 12-16
  • Thomas Jefferson's Birthday: 13
  • Pan American Day: 14
  • World Haemophilia Day: 17
  • Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day: 23
  • Arbor Day: 24
  • World Malaria Day: 25
  • DNA Day: 25
  • National Richter Scale Day: 26
  • World Immunization Week: 24-30
  • Every Kid Healthy Week: 26-30
  • National Infant Immunization Week: 26 - May 2
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.

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