True Measure of Success
Tim Tebow is arguably a household name, and it's not difficult to understand why. The beloved athlete is a two-time national champion, first round NFL draft pick, Heisman Trophy winner and multi-sport athlete, but his credentials don't end there. Currently, he is signed to play professional baseball with the New York Mets and is a college football analyst for the SEC Network. And if that isn't enough visibility for local Tebow fans to obtain their Tebow fix, guess what? East Texans will have a chance to be front and center with the inspiring athlete when he pays a visit to Tyler in just a few weeks!
On February 2, Grace Community School will welcome the athlete, in front of an audience of adults and children, to the Green Acres Baptist CrossWalk Conference Center at, ìAn Evening with Tim Tebow ñ Celebrating Faith and Discovering Your Identity.î
Tebow’s mother, Pam, spoke at the same conference center about three years ago, but this will mark Tebow’s first trip to the Rose City. The speaking engagement is a community-wide event and is open to the public, as the school's bi-annual fundraiser.
Grace Community School is a private Christian school located in Tyler. Since 1973, Grace has expanded to two locations and is a Junior Kindergarten to 12th grade, coeducation, college-preparatory, selective admissions day school. “At Grace, our mission is to assist Christian families in educating, equipping and encouraging their children to influence the world of Christ,” Jay Ferguson, Headmaster of Grace, explained. “We’ve got kids who are international kids. Most of our kids are local from the Tyler and the surrounding community. Our class sizes tend to be anywhere on the high end at 24, and on the low end at 15.”
To raise money for student financial help, Grace Community puts on a speaker event every two years. On the off years, they hold an auction for their fundraising event. As Ferguson explains, for some time now, the school has discussed what a great fit Tebow would be, as a guest speaker for the fundraiser. “We’re always looking for somebody who speaks to the mission of the school and whose message is in line with what the school stands for,” Ferguson says. “For several years we’ve been talking about how great it would be if we can get Tim Tebow to speak, because of what he stands for, his educational background and the message that he has. He has an appeal to younger people. Things just fell into place this year to make that possible, and we’re thrilled to make it happen.”
Tebow, who has made a name for himself as an outspoken Christian role model standing up for his faith, will serve as an inspiring speaker, to not only the children in the community, but also their parents, their families, and friends. “I am very excited to visit Tyler and share my message of faith, hope and love. I am especially looking forward to spending some time with students there,” Tebow expresses. “I’ve been traveling the last three or four years, and speaking all over. I see so many people in today’s society that are searching. There’s more to this world than money, fame and power, and you can have an impact no matter who you are. I feel like this book is about identity and not being shaken, and about being able to have a firm foundation as a child of God. [It] is something so many people are longing for and wanting,” Tebow says of his newly released book, “Shaken: Discovering Your True Identity in the Midst of Life’s Storms.” “They’re searching for something more, and there has got to be more out there. What is it? Well, I can tell you what it is. It’s a relationship with the God of this universe, who loves you so much. It was fun in this book to be able to highlight role models of mine that have been able to find a firm foundation in whose they are, no matter what life throws at them. I’m so thankful because of my relationship with Jesus Christ and being adopted into the family of God, that I don’t have to live the highs and the lows and the roller coaster that the rest of the world lives in my life. When you realize that you matter to the God of this universe, it changes everything for you. You realize you are not an accident. You are not a mistake. You have purpose. There is a plan for your life and you are loved, and you are special. That changes how we view ourselves. That changes who we are.”
Tebow grew up the son of missionaries, and even after moving to Florida as a child, he returned to the Philippines as a teenager to spread God’s word, and do the Lord’s work, by serving the needy. He carried that calling with him to the University of Florida, where in addition to leading the Gators to two national championships, and winning the Heisman Trophy in 2007, he also devoted himself to charity; raising money for pediatric cancer patients and disadvantaged children. “What I have learned is that you can’t predict what may come your way. So to protect your identity and stay grounded, you need a solid foundation. I have found that steady place, in a person—Jesus Christ. He has never let me down,” Tebow adds.
In 2010, his vision took shape in the Tim Tebow Foundation, which exists to bring faith, hope and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need. The Foundation fulfills this mission every day by working to make dreams come true for children with life-threatening illnesses through various efforts including building Timmy’s Playrooms in children’s hospitals; providing life-changing surgeries to children of the Philippines, through the Tebow CURE Hospital; sponsoring Night to Shine, a nationwide Prom for people with special needs; providing care for orphans in four countries; and also providing adoption aid grants for families who choose to adopt an international child with special needs. “From a very early age, my parents instilled in me the importance of God’s word, the salvation we have in His Son Jesus and the responsibility we have to give back to others. I was so excited to create the Tim Tebow Foundation. We are serving children and sharing God’s love by fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves,” Tebow says.
Though Tebow's football career has seen its ups and downs including having been cut from three teams, he has never given up, which is what he hopes to encourage the East Texas community always to do at the upcoming event. “I think staying grounded is one of the hardest things we will ever do in life. In life, you are going to have a lot of highs and lows and eventually everything around you will be shaken. So what do you have to hold on to? Who are you? And Whose are you?” He says it’s easy to let a difficult circumstance cut into your pride, goals and dreams. It’s how you react and how you handle it that really matters," he adds.
In addition to Tebow's highly-anticipated speech, there will also be a special time for students to meet as a group with the athlete, prior to his talk. The evening will also include a performance by a community-wide choir, made up of students from local public and private schools. “The money raised during this event goes towards the Grace Fund,” Ferguson adds. As stated on the Grace Community School website, “Money raised through The Grace Fund provides the important difference that makes the educational programs enjoyed by our children unique, undergirding the strength of the global community that we all treasure at Grace. Grace Community School's programmatic and financial health depend on a strong annual fund. Since The Grace Fund funds our financial aid program, many families are dependent upon this assistance to attend our school.”
It is probably safe to say that if Tebow never adds another piece of hardware to his trophy case, he will be okay with that because his success meter measures life his way. “True success is not measured in physical possessions, but in the amount of lives that you change,” Tebow’s website states.
For tickets to “An Evening with Tim Tebow – Celebrating Faith and Discovering Your Identity,” call 903-566-5678 or go to gracetyler.org/tebow. Everyone is invited and will want to hear Tim message of Faith, Hope and Love. Tebow's book can be purchased through Amazon.