The days we remember that shaped us, the day we are living in right now and all the days to follow ... we will rally this summer around what God does in our ... GLORY DAYS.
As adults, feelings of nostalgia about years past when we were younger, a few pounds lighter, and unencumbered by the cares of the “real” world. A time when our minds were not consumed with mortgages, work stability or the heavy responsibility of parenting. Thoughts of, “if I could just go back” or “those were the days” that often leave us disappointed and discouraged.
For kids, the idea of “Glory Days” will often fill their heads with thoughts of sports icons, celebrities, money, fame and all that comes with it. They are constantly being bombarded with images that only serve to remind them of what they don’t have and will likely never attain. “Maybe if I work hard enough, I’ll be able to play like him” … “If I can just look like her, then maybe they’ll like and follow me” … Always chasing significance and acceptance through the avenue of MORE. But the only thing they are left with is more fear and anxiety.
The problem is not what has been missed in the past or what is just beyond our grasp in the future. The key to living and experiencing our Glory Days is by shifting our perspective of what true Glory is where it can be found.
The Bible says that glory is even more exclusive than we think — only God himself is glorious. Compared to God, humanity is a mist of vapor and a fleeting breath. We are reminded that “all fall short of the glory of God," (Romans 3:23).
And yet, while God alone is the object of our worship and praise, from the very beginning of the world, God has made mankind to reflect his glory. As Psalm 8:4-5 puts it, "What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You have crowned him with glory and honor." In the Hebrew, "glory" implies weightiness or significance. Essentially, God has bestowed upon us a unique and profound importance, making us reflections of His divine glory.
Our Glory Days are not confined to the past when we were younger, more athletic and full of optimism. In the same way, our Glory Days are not off in the distant future never to be realized. For those of us who have experienced the glory of God through the person of Jesus Christ and the hope that he brings ... our Glory Days are to be lived NOW and FOREVER.
NOW, as we look to live our current life aligned with Jesus' Kingdom that he brought when he walked the earth. A way of life marked by forgiveness, peace, joy and love. Living your Glory Days NOW is to walk with Jesus and seek to live and love as He does and experience all the freedom that comes only through a relationship with Him.
FOREVER, as we live in the hope of eternity spent with our loving Creator. As Jesus taught his disciples, "I go to prepare a place for you ... that you may also be where I am." To live in the full presence of the glory of God for all eternity ... that is what awaits all who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ.
This summer, we will delve into how to live a life without the burden of regret but with an abundance of joy, anchored in the promises of God. When we focus on living for God's glory rather than our own, we can discover a life filled with remarkable purpose and meaning, not just for the present but also for the eternity that lies ahead.
So, will you stop living in the past? Will you stop daydreaming about the future and the fleeting glory that this world offers? And instead realize that the invitation is open to live out your Glory Days: Now & Forever.
“Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfulness.” Psalm 115:1
I didn't know the value of good o manual labor until that first Training Camp at T Bar M in 1993, but it did set foundations that I continue to use today. The outcome of two hours of painting fences and moving rocks was quite more than two checks on the "to do" list. It is where I (and countless other college and high school students) learned much, much more.
T Bar M Camps is offering that very opportunity for High School students each summer ... and this summer it is growing even more. We are committed to (and excited about) our dedicated Work Crew, comprised of high school students who are eager to serve, lead, and deepen their faith. These students play a vital role in enriching the camp experience for everyone involved. It's a unique opportunity for them to forge connections, gain valuable leadership skills, and leave a lasting impact on our community. And we are confident these all transfer to their daily life way beyond this summer.
It will be an experience that is built on these five components:
--Strengthening their Faith
--Apprenticeship in Service
--Weekly Bible Study
(and did we mention it would be so much fun ... words just don't do justice?)
We believe that our summer work crew program offers a unique opportunity for high school students to grow personally, spiritually, and socially while making a tangible difference in the lives of others.-Austin Mankin, Base Camp Director
For all the details and how to apply, read below.
They say a picture says a thousand words. And this one sure does. Paige (Nowlin) and Hudson High, lifetime campers as well as Coaches, would never have dreamed they would be standing in the T Bar M gym with their own kiddoes back when they were campers in the very same space.
Yet, there they were … cheering on the Alphas in an Alumni Dodge Ball Games. You know the drill, Alphas lined up under one basketball goal and the Omegas under the other. The music starts, everyone runs (or takes cover) and the balls begin to fly. Alphas and Omegas were picked off pretty evenly … in the beginning. Then, we look up to see five-year-old, Eden High as the lone Alpha against a team of Omegas.
The game continued, and her parents tell it well. “In the face of the blue wave, she stood her ground and continued to rapid-fire dodgeballs indiscriminately to weaken the offensive front. Never once did her sight stray from the task at hand: holding down the Alpha front. This is the way.” says dad, Hudson High.
Her mom, Paige, continues, “I looked up to see Eden as the last remaining Alpha, somewhat expecting her to just run to the sideline, but that girl held her own. (Against a very, very, kind Omega team). She never gave up.”
No doubt there was an air of competition, but that was superseded by the cheers from the Alphas and the kindness of the Omegas.
Isn’t that the way many days feel … an air of competition from the world, and what it asks of us. But, when we walk with the Lord closely … we are cheered on, and see His kindness and grace as we continue to face the enemy.
How is God encouraging and giving you grace today? How are you doing the same for others?
"Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11.
(and yes, the Omegas won.)
Earning point in FUAGNEM February is a lot easier than you think ... applying the rhythms of our summers or years at T Bar M into our everyday life.
We sit and eat with our friends.
We strive to huddle up as a family at the end of a day, even if it’s only to talk through hard things.
We take our neighbors trash can in.
We for sure eat at Chick-fil-A. (Surely that’s the yellow meal)
We text each other encouraging things … sometimes.
We find ourselves telling our kids about how we used to have 12 kids that cleaned cabins.
We get excited when we see our own kid apply to Work Crew or to be a Coach.
We tell others about what God is doing in our lives and listen as they do the same.
And if it's not those things... it’s time to grab those camo pants, cue the Mission Impossible music and start.
It will make your days better and help YOUR team win. (Motivator: Looks like the Alphas have the lead now!)
Download this score sheet. Tape it to your fridge, put it in your car, place it in the middle of the table. Use these categories to have high connection, silly moments and fun with your friends, roommates, and family. Simply keep a tally mark of each time you do one of the tasks, tally it up, and send it to email@example.com by February 29th (yep, we have an extra day to "Don't Waste Fun" this year).
The WINNER of this Alumni Competition plus the Summer 2024 Summer Theme will be announced on March 1st.
I know, you can't wait. Me Either
- Kelli Boyd + Your T Bar M Family
The Timothy Team has arrived home from Maui!
The second half of our trip to Maui was full of lots of work & even more fun! We spent a few more days on the farm, turning trimmings of their plants into new ones that will beautify new housing developments for families displaced as a result of the August fires. With an eventual plant total of around 1,500, it was incredibly rewarding to see the products of our hard work on this project begin to be delivered to the farm’s church partner. We also spent more time at the distribution center unpacking, processing, and organizing shipping containers full of new donations. A few of us were able to lead high schoolers in a nursing program through team-building games.
We also left plenty of time for rest & play, spending most of our evenings watching the sunset from the beach. On Sunday, we went back to Hope Chapel to join our friends for worship & teaching. We were also able to eat our lunch there, supporting their youth ministry in sending their students to camp this summer! On Sunday afternoon, we did some souvenir shopping, played beach volleyball, and spent hours in the ocean with Hope Chapel’s young adult ministry. Monday was our last day on the island, and we spent the day on a boat tour snorkeling and whale watching.
Each night we spent the last moments of the evening discussing the moments of that day where we saw God move. Between our work on the farm, conversations at the distribution center, moments of wonder at God’s creation, and more, it was clear that God met each one of us in a unique way on our trip. Through our service, hard work, fun, and fellowship, God used our time in Maui not only to bring hope, healing, and the light of Christ into a dark situation, but to draw near to each of us. We are so, so thankful for all of the prayers, planning, and financial support that made our time in Maui possible!!
Love God, Love Others,
Claire + The Timothy Team
Timothy Team 28 Says Hello From Maui!
Over the past few days on the island, our team has been blessed with a variety of opportunities to serve the people of Maui.
We’ve been staying and working on a family-operated farm that produces bananas, coconuts, guavas, lilikoi (passionfruit), avocados, and more. The property is a busy place full of family members, interns, guests, rams, sheep, chickens, and cats. Along with a few other projects around the farm, we’ve spent most of our time over the past few days planting ferns, parrot beak heliconias, coconuts, and paikas in portable bags to be distributed to some of the farm’s ministry partners. Eventually, these bags will be replanted in new housing developments for families displaced by the devastating fires in August of last year. Our final count came out to around 900 plants, and it was so exciting to see the Lord use the work of our many hands to bring forth life & beauty that will long outlast our short stay on the island.
On Wednesday night, we spent time with the young adults of Hope Chapel Church, joining them for worship and leading them in a few of our favorite team building games. It was so much fun to befriend some of our peers here on the island and share some of what we do every day in New Braunfels with them.
On Thursday, we were able to send a group to serve at a distribution center organizing boxes full of food, bedding, and personal care products for those in need as a result of the fires. It was so exciting to be able to serve those families in such a tangible way.
We’ve been blessed to hear from a few of our friends here that our work has been an answered prayer for them, and we’re so excited to see what else God has in store for us in our remaining time on Maui!!
We are so thankful for all of the prayers and support of our friends, family, and the T Bar M community. This trip couldn’t have happened without you!
- Claire + Timothy Team 28
It's a good family to be a part of. A really good one.
As 270 plus alumni gathered two Saturdays ago to pray for and support Jen and Cole Adams before Layne's Celebration of Life service, we could not deny the JOY that was in that room. Even in the midst of hard things, there was a joy and peace that only comes from Christ. Glen Stern said years ago, "There is going to be a room in heaven that's a bit louder and tighter than the others. People are going to wonder who is in there. 'Oh, that's the T Bar M Family', they will say."
The family that we are a part of began when we walked through the gates of T Bar M, stood in a circle at Training Camp, hauled rocks with a new friend during Hi Hos, shared our stories with one another, prayed for the campers we longed to know Jesus, and laughed, cried, and encouraged one another for the weeks or years we served our Father together.
Those are the days, weeks, years that shaped us each in some way, and we want to put into action what God did and continues to do in us.
So, let's do it ... the whole month of February! Let's connect, let's laugh, let's impact our hearts, homes and communities. And let's see who wins at it all ... Alphas or Omegas!
Check out all the details of FUAGNEM February: How to connect others, how to compete for your team (ALPHA or OMEGA), and how to follow and add to the excitement here at T Bar M.
A few of our young professional Alumni in Austin have created a video to get YOU Fired Up.
Huddle Up, Folks. We have a challenge for you.
In February, we are calling for a competition that only T Bar M Alumni can handle. Sure, you might need to knock off the cobwebs to remember the cheers. (Here's some help: A-L-P-H-A, Alpha, Alpha all the way! O-Omega, Mighty, Mighty Omega!)
It will be a competition that will take you right back to the days of your time at T Bar M. We have compiled the everyday things of being a coach that YOU can put into your life right now, right where you are. But of course, we will wrap it up in one big competition between the Alphas and the Omegas. Fact is, we still abide by the #1 rule of camp: Don't Waste Fun!
There's no doubt God changed us through our experiences at T Bar M. Encouraging one another, circling up in a huddle or covenant group, sharing our stories, and basking in traditions (yes, traditions) were used then and can most certainly be used now.
We cannot wait to connect with you, compete with (or against) you, and share what the Lord continues to do in and through T Bar M!
So, let's get FUAGNEM (Fired Up and Going Nuts Every Minute) ... even if it's at a slower pace for a few of us.
Who can compete? Anyone and everyone that has served at T Bar M.
Where will you compete? In your home, your office, your town. Anywhere!
How will you compete? The following categories will have simple, purposeful (& maybe a bit crazy) tasks for you to complete. Encouragement, huddle, testimony, coaches, tradition, hi-hos and future FUAGNEM.
A downloadable scorecard will be turned in at the end of February.
Why compete? For fun. To gather. To represent Alpha or Omega for the bragging rights of the Alumni Score on the summer board!
What can I do to prepare for such a worthy competition?
1. Stretch (I’m looking at y’all from the early 90’s).
2. Pull out your red or blue best.
3, Recruit your fellow coaches.
4. Be Ready2Go!
Full details are coming to you in an email on January 13th.
How to be thankful ... in ALL circumstances.
Thanksgiving has always been one of those holidays that I tend to brush over…it’s a warmup for Christmas, right? Family getting together, eating huge meals, holiday hours of sleep, and seriously…Christmas has gifts…that’s next level. Thanksgiving, I mean…yeah, I’m thankful…but am I really?
I find myself in a little different headspace and heart space this year around this time. I don’t know how much you know or may have heard about the Adams fam’s last couple of years…but to say, “we have so much to be thankful for…” is an understatement.
As we look back three years, this journey began with two strokes, two knee surgeries, and a long recovery for my myself and my middle son. The word "hard" comes quickly to mind. But not as challenging as the next curve in the road. In November 2022, our oldest son suffered a life-threatening accident where he experienced a tremendous fall after coming into contact with 7,200 volts of electricity. There's an incredible God story in all of this; but suffice it to say we were on yet another long road to recovery.
Looking back over that list, the Lord's faithfulness and grace are so apparent in so many ways. I am humbled to say, we are all upright and even getting back to "normal". There really is so much to be thankful for. But man, when you are in it, it is so hard to really have a heart of gratitude.
I came across this article Billy Graham wrote back in November of 2021. It was really encouraging (and convicting!). I want to share a couple of my takeaways (let's call them "Cole's notes" instead of Cliff's notes) and the biblical references the reverend used… I hope it is inspiring to you as well:
- The Bible commands us over and over to have a heart of gratitude. That should be a distinctive mark of a believer. If ever there was a follower of Jesus who seemed warranted to live without a thankful heart, it would be Paul. Despite tons of tough circumstances… it’s him who tells us in Ephesians 5: “Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:19-20, NIV).
- I never seem to be satisfied with what I have, where I’m at, or the circumstances I’m in. But what a change of mindset when I trust the Lord and believe that it is all from Him, just as King David points us to in Chronicles: “Wealth and honor come from you… We give you thanks and praise your glorious name… Everything comes from you” (1 Chronicles 29:12-14, NIV).
- God’s people. I cannot tell you enough how important people have been through our trials the last couple of years. God deeply used Jen, our kids, our family, and our community. I have become so thankful for those folks the Lord lets us do life with… I hope you have a community that loves and supports you as well. I want my response to be the same as Paul’s in Acts: “At the sight of these men Paul thanked God and was encouraged” (Acts 28:15, NIV).
- None of us are exempt from hard times. I think the question is, “what will we do with those hard times?” Embrace them, learn and grow; or become bitter and live life mad. I hope any anger and bitterness doesn’t last for you. Here are a couple of verses for you:
- “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance” (James 1:2-3, NIV).
- "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
- Finally, may we never forget… God has given us the greatest Gift of all—His Son, who died on the cross and rose again so that we can know Him personally and spend eternity with Him in heaven: “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15, NIV).
May it be said of us that we are “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20, NIV)… on Thanksgiving Day AND every day!
P.S. We might have not moved the same rocks at the same T Bar M training camp “Hi-Ho”, but we have done the same hard work of “lovin’ on kids for Christ” as alumni, and we serve the same Lord. If you ever want to get together to have coffee and talk over the hard things that you are fighting to be thankful for… hollar. We have had some good practice on giving thanks in ALL circumstances. So tough, and so worth it.
God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.
Our daughter, put this video together if you want to see what God can do in an incredible situation.
Saying "welcome home" as YOU walk through the gate, sure puts a smile on our face!
It gives you the opportunity to perhaps step back in time a bit to remember how God met you and shaped you while you spent part of your summer or part of your year at T Bar M.
Glenn Stern (former camper, coach) said it well as he picked up his daughter from Camp Travis, "There is something about being here that reminds you who God created you to be."
It gives us all the opportunity to see the continuation of God's story in your life, cheer for you, pray for you and give you a bit of respite.
We saw a whole lot of that this month as we welcomed many alumni. Will Washington, speaking to a group of University of Texas Students, Emma Dotter & the Join the Journey team embarking on a weekend of team building, Andy Zinkgraf checking out school space for a retreat, or John Boudreaux, Garrett Newsom, Ana, Brett, and Bonnie coming with a family CRU weekend. It was a JOY to see you each serving the Lord in so many capacities.
So, don't hesitate to stop by when you drive through New Braunfels or Spicewood, or come with a group. You can bet we are going to be looking forward to seeing you!
(psst ... we are about to have some super fun opportunities to welcome you back to camp ... stay tuned!)