If you were ever the last kid picked for teams on the playground, you will identify with Lonnie Ballantine. He was the last pick in last year’s NFL draft – the 256th player chosen. He received a jersey with the number 256 on it and Mr. Irrelevant written on the back. Talk about feeling unimportant. These guys rarely ever make a team. Picked by the Houston Texans, he was the last man they kept, being placed on their reserve squad. Last man picked, last man kept. By this time in his life, Lonnie had been through a lot of harsh reality. He became a parent at 16 with a downs syndrome child. His college career included several coaching changes on losing teams. Through much of his life, even though a talented athlete, he has lived on the edge of disappointment, rejection, and obscurity. His attitude on being the last man standing was, “It takes 50 guys to make a football team. The 50th guy matters.” He basically just never gave up or gave in on his quest to play football.

You may be armed with a new set of resolutions and optimistic hopes for the New Year. Making them happen will likely involve overcoming a host of obstacles, setbacks, and disappointments. Lonnie Ballantine teaches me two lessons – always believe in who you are, and that your God given pursuit matters. The Bible puts it this way, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

A group of about 70 ministers and spouses from around the state gathered for the annual Christmas dinner at Mountain Park Church in early December. The group had some fun with the game Taylor Swift vs. Lamentations, and then a good time of worship. Wonderful family of faithful spiritual leaders in our state!

Winter Blast

Winter Blastwill take place on February 13-16, 2015 at Lost Canyon Camp in Williams. Speaker Mike Fackler will challenge middle and senior high students to be rooted in their faith. Registration is $179 per person and includes food and lodging for the convention. For more information, contact Kayla Harden at

Christian Women’s Connection Spring Convention

Christian Women’s Connection Spring Convention is Saturday, April 25 at The Gathering Place in Phoenix. Kayla Harden, on staff at West Side Church of God in Glendale, is the speaker.

Church of God Convention

This year’s Church of God Convention will be in Oklahoma City, June 22-25. Francis Chan will be one of the speakers this year. More information is available at

Camp 456

Dates for Camp 456 at UCYC (grades 4-6) this summer are July 19-23. More information will be sent to our churches in the coming weeks.

Note to pastors and/or church leaders: Check and make sure your church’s corporation status is up to date at for 2015.

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