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Preparing the Cross for My Son
By Deyvy Rodriguez
 
Early in the spring this year my wife decided to take family pictures that reflected Easter weekend—the Passover, that is. Being the creative person she is, she envisioned having a cross in the picture with our son holding a lamb in his arms. Since we couldn’t find a cross for sale, I decided I would just build one myself. So with some rugged wood in our backyard and rusty nails, I got to work.

 
While preparing the cross, I couldn’t stop reflecting about its significance. Wasn’t it invented by the Romans to use it for fear, torture, and death? And how has a gory symbol like the cross become a badge of honor hanging from someone’s necklace? Furthermore, Bible verses like denying self and taking up my own cross to follow Jesus would come to mind.For disciples of Jesus, these words were certainly not easy to comprehend. We all know now that the symbol of the cross is a symbol of the love of God for each one of us.
As a father, I feel a great responsibility to lead my 3 year-old son to the cross, to prepare him for eternal decisions. I ask God to help me explain the death and resurrection of Jesus to him—that the message can be simple to understand. He knows that Jesus died on the cross out of love for us.
On picture day I was outside preparing the cross making final touches when my son asks his mother, “Where’s Papa?” “He’s outside making a cross,” she said. “For me?” he replied.  “He’s making a cross so we can take a picture with it--to remind us of Jesus,” she told him. When he was he was all dressed up and we were ready to leave, he says, “Okay, mommy, can I now die on the cross that Papa made?”
  
Dear newsletter recipient,

I’m sure you’ve been wondering, as have we, what has happened with The StewPot publication that we were receiving on a monthly basis.  The StewPot is a publication of the Pacific Union Conference and was overseen by Elder Bernard Castillo.  Yesterday I was finally able to find out why we haven’t been receiving the publication at all this year.  Apparently, Elder Castillo accepted a call to pastor a church sometime last year.  Up until the end of 2021, he was also continuing his responsibilities at the Pacific Union Conference.  As of this time, they have not found a replacement for him.  We are uncertain as to when, or even if, the publication will be continued once a replacement is in place.  I’m sorry that we will not have this resource, at least for the time being.  We will, however, be continuing to send you our new quarterly Stewardship publication, The Smart Steward. 

Sincerely,

Lynette Ecord 
The Smart Steward is our new quarterly publication produced by your Texas Conference of Seventh-day Adventist Stewardship Department and is emailed to pastors, treasurers, and stewardship directors. Find this quarter's publication along with our archived publications on our website here.  
Stewardship Children's Story
Broken Lights
adapted by Lynette Ecord

Have you ever been to the Dollar Tree?  One of the things that they sell at Dollar Tree are glow sticks.  Do you know what glow sticks are?  A glow stick is a long, plastic, tube filled with a liquid colored red, or blue, or green, or pink, or orange, or purple – all sorts of colors!  You can swing them around and play with them.  Some of them you can even connect together to make different shapes you can wear around your neck or on your wrist, or even on your head!  But the real fun comes when you ‘snap’ the stick and the tube inside breaks and the liquid begins to glow! 
 
 Well, one time I was in Dollar Tree and there was a lady with two little children behind me in the long, long line.  One was a big kid, and one was a toddler.  The older brother had a pack of glow sticks and the toddler was screaming and crying for them, so their mom opened the pack and gave him one.  Well, that stopped his tears for a little while, but then the bigger boy took it and the toddler started screaming again. As you can imagine, the mom wasn’t too happy about that.  She was just about to fuss at her older son about it when he bent the glow stick and handed it back to his little brother.  Now the little brother was beaming with happiness, and his older brother said, “I had to break it so you could get the full effect from it”.
 
Do you know what that made me think of?  It made me think of God. In your life you go through things that are disappointing and things that make you very sad.  Grown-ups do too.  And sometimes we wonder why God lets these things happen to us.  That little toddler was happy just swinging that ‘unbroken’ glow stick around in the air because he didn’t understand that it was created to glow! There are some people who are content just being as they are, but God says “I have to ‘break’ you to show you why I created you. You had to go through this sad or hard time so you could fulfill your purpose”.  Sometimes you get sick. Sometimes parents get divorced. Sometimes our pets die. But even in those sad times, God is with us, and if we let Him He will make us glow brighter for Him. You see, we weren’t created to live in a world of sin, sickness, and sadness. We were created to live in peace and happiness with God forever!  Did you know that right before Jesus left the earth to go back to heaven He told His disciples (the people who believed in Him, and followed Him) that they should “…go and make followers of all people in the world.” What does that mean? How do you do that? When you see someone else who is sad or hurting, share with them the story of Jesus and that He loves them, and wants to take them to heaven to live in peace and happiness forever!  Sharing the love and the story of Jesus is being a good steward.
  
Did you know we post regularly on Facebook?
Stewardship Sunday
Money Matters Monday
Time Tips Tuesday
Wealth Management Wednesday
Provide and Protect Thursday
Cheerful Giver and Faithful Friday
and Happy Sabbath Saturdays.  
Search us at @TXSDAgiving and make sure to Share, Like, and Follow!  
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Counsels on Stewardship
by Ellen G. White
 
Let all of this class remember that this robbery of God is not an impulsive action, but a well-considered plan which they preface by saying, “Being in sound mind.” After having defrauded the cause of God through life, they perpetuate the fraud after death. And this is with the full consent of all the powers of the mind. Such a will many are content to cherish for a dying pillow. Their will is a part of their preparation for death, and is prepared so that their possessions shall not disturb their dying hours. Can these dwell with pleasure upon the requirement that will be made of them to give an account of their stewardship? CS 327.1

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 considering a power of attorney for finance, power of attorney for healthcare and an advance directive.  
POWERS OF ATTORNEY AND ADVANCE DIRECTIVES – A GIFT TO YOUR FAMILY
by Lynette Ecord
 
If 2020 taught us anything, it was how quickly things can change.  Someone who seems very healthy can become very ill and unable to take care of anything for themselves within a matter of hours.  Many spouses, or other family members, found themselves needing to make health care decisions for their loved ones, but HIPPA and other restrictions left them powerless to do so. There were also financial accounts to be managed, insurance issues to deal with, and bills to be paid.  Unfortunately, these financial institutions and businesses are not able to give out any information or be of any help if you aren’t the account owner.
 
If the account owner isn’t able to talk to them and give them permission to talk to someone else about their accounts, then the family may have to hire an attorney and go through a lot of time, expense, and paperwork before they can take care of business.  All of this during what is already an emotionally difficult time.
            Wouldn’t you do whatever you could to make things as easy as possible for your loved during an emotionally stressful time?  It’s so simple to do, and such a wonderful gift!  All that’s needed are two simple legal documents – a Statutory Durable Power of Attorney, in which you give someone the authority to handle any and all financial/business matters for you while you are unable to do so, and a Health Care Power of Attorney, that gives someone the authority to make health care decisions for you if you are either temporarily or permanently unable to make them for yourself.  Both of these documents are a very important part of every estate plan, and every adult should have these documents. 
            A third document that will save your family much emotional distress is an Advance Directive (often referred to as a Living Will).  In this document, you give specific instructions for your care if you should be diagnosed with a terminal illness.
            All of these documents, together with a Will, are a part of a complete estate planning package and are offered as a free service to our church members who acknowledge that all things come from God and that, as good stewards of what He has given us, choose to leave a portion of their estates to the gospel ministry in Texas.  Contact our Planned Giving & Trust Services Department, or your own private attorney, about taking care of this important gift to your loved ones and to God.
 
May 2022

Texas Conference May Offering Schedule 
  • 7:  Local Church Budget
  • 14:  Disaster and Family Relief
  • 21: Local Church Budget
  • 28: Texas Vision:  This offering is divided evenly between the following Texas Conference Projects: academies, Lake Whitney Ranch.
Dad Picnic Jokes
by Chantelle Grace


When do you go at red and stop at green?  When you're eating a watermelon.

Why shouldn't you tell an egg a joke?  Because it might crack up.

Why did the man lose his job at the orange juice factory?  He couldn't concentrate.

What did the hamburger name his daughter?  Patty. 

What are twins' favorite fruit?  Pears.

Why shouldn't you tell a secret on a farm?  Because corn has ears.

What do you give to a sick lemon?  Lemon aid.
Additional Online Resources
 
Texas Conference Website Stewardship Section: click here
  • 2022 Sunset and Sabbath Offering Schedule: click here
  • 2022 Sabbath Offertory Reading:  click for English  Spanish
Texas Conference Stewardship & Planned Giving Website:  click here
Southwestern Union Stewardship Department:  click here
North American Division Stewardship:  click here
General Conference Stewardship Department:  click here
"The highlight of my day was arriving at an Adventist school and being greeted by students, parents, staff, and teachers.  In this picture, you will find former VGA staff and alumni.  I went to Kisha Norris' (Education Superintendent) graduation. Mr. Aguilar (Associate Superintendent) was my band director. I graduated in 2001. Cici (Principal / Teacher, Stonehill Christian Academy) arrived after I graduated but was my sister's schoolmate. Nikki (Teacher, Stonehill Christian Academy) was one of my Pathfinders when I was part of Keene Spanish Soul Savers as a student pastor and later she attended VGA with my brother. Karla (Teacher, Stonehill Christian Academy) was my 12th grader when I taught Bible at VGA.  Adventist schools make a difference. Seeing these men and women hard at work with the next wave of world changers was inspiring!  As of May 1, 2022  $165,017.66 has been raised!  Thank you for your prayers and financial support.  Together we are helping educate for eternity."                             
            -Pastor Uzzie 
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.
Email Lynette: Trust Services Director & Association Secretary and Stewardship Coordinator
Email Sofia: Administrative Assistant
Email Claudia: Administrative Assistant
Email Deyvy: South & Central Texas Field Representative and Area Stewardship Coordinator
Email Marshall: East & Greater Houston Field Representative and Area Stewardship Coordinator
Email Uzziel: North Texas Field Representative and Area Stewardship Coordinator
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