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Looking for Answers

In my late teens I worked for the most interesting man in the world, Scott, the inventor of Rollerblades.  He always believed that the smallest business start-up contained the potential to be explosively successful.  With that logic he pursued every idea and concept he could.  Scott was full of faith, and had the ability to see greatness in something small.

Last week we talked about positioning ourselves to be willing, expectant, and believing for God to speak to us.  The question we explore now is how do we recognize Him when He moves in our lives and answers our prayers.  We all know God can move in a miraculous and mighty way.  We contend for that. But often times we may miss Him doing more in us and through us than we may recognize.  Just as Scott always saw the greatness of business potential in the smallest idea, we need to recognize that God's answer may come in a small way.  It may not be to scale we were expecting but even the smallest answers contain His explosive goodness, generosity, and love.

The following passage is set during a severe drought and famine.  Elijah is holding on to a promise from God that rain will come.  We pick up the account where we see Elijah looking for rain:

1 Kings 18:43-45

"Go and look toward the sea," he told his servant. And he went up and looked. "There is nothing there," he said. Seven times Elijah said, "Go back." The seventh time the servant reported, "A cloud as small as a man's hand is rising from the sea." So Elijah said, "Go and tell Ahab, 'Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.'"  Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain started falling and Ahab rode off to Jezreel.

As racers we continually look to the sky to see if it’s going to rain.  If we saw a blue sky and a single cloud “as small as a mans hand” I doubt we would prepare for heavy rain.  However, Elijah knew that it was not his place to evaluate the size of the answer.  He probably would have loved to see large rain clouds and take in the smell of rain in the air but that’s not how the answer started.  Nonetheless, it was an answer and Elijah responded to it.

As we set our hearts to be willing, expectant, and believing, let’s also learn to celebrate and recognize His response to us; big or small.  Be encouraged that God is listening to your prayers, desires, and dreams.  Let’s be less concerned about the size of the answer and more concerned about the posture of our heart to receive it. As we exercise our faith this way we will learn to seek His plans and purposes for us instead of wanting confirmation of our own desires.  In this process we’ll find ourselves exactly where we need to be with the love, confidence, and peace only He can provide.

Fresh Start to 2016

What really excites me about the beginning of a new season is the freshness. Taking what was worn or damaged and bringing it back to life is satisfying.

Removing what was old brings anticipation to try what is new. All of the “let’s give it shot” talk in the shop finally has an outlet to test the different setup theories.  It’s a culmination of countless hours of strategy and hard work to get the most out of each race weekend.

As the new season begins and we kick off our series of chapel services and devotionals, I would like for us to apply those same attributes to our spiritual lives. It is an opportunity to clear the slate of past mistakes with forgiveness and start fresh.  Our time together provides us the opportunity to get rid of old thinking that left us with misconceptions about who we are, compared to who God says we are. Most importantly, let's take advantage His promises to rebuild and restore what has been torn down, neglected or lost.

Let’s start the journey first by simply agreeing that we will allow God to move in our hearts. Not that God needs to ask for our permission, but let’s position ourselves to receive from Him. We do this by being willing, expectant and believing. Hearing from God and encountering Him has everything to do with the attitude of our heart and willingness to receive.

God wants to move in our lives and reveal His love for us each day. We can’t always wait for church to come on Sunday, or our favorite worship song to play, or when we take our next missions trip to tune our hearts to His. In Acts 2:25, Peter refers to King David’s statement: “I saw the Lord always in my presence; for He is at my right hand, so that I will not be shaken.” The original psalm makes it clear that this was a decision of David’s to keep his focus on the Lord constantly. I am sure David had opportunities to look elsewhere, but with the Lord “at my right hand” David was so close to Him that he was always in a position to be strengthened and affirmed.

As we look ahead to a new season of racing and a season of growing in our faith together let’s begin with making a commitment to maintain our hearts in a position to hear from Him. We have a great year ahead of us – let’s start the adventure!

Endless Supply of Brake Cleaner

I have a real soft spot for brake cleaner. I use it for just about everything not listed on the can.  However, when I look over to the storage shelf and notice I’m on the last can it causes me to go into conservation mode.  I don’t spray anything unnecessary like wasps, or weeds in the cracks of my sidewalk.

We naturally conserve what we believe is in limited supply and we use extravagantly what seems to be an endless supply, such as water or Thanksgiving turkey.  So much of what we do is dependent on the supply that is available to accomplish our goal.  The real challenge is knowing how much is available to us.  

There is a story in the Bible of a guy, Bartimaeus, who had a great understanding of making sure you use everything available to you.  Bartimaeus was blind and basically would hang out on the side of a busy road begging for money.  Whatever he got, he used.  One day Jesus was walking on the same road Bartimaeus was on and he decided to cry out for Jesus.  Despite others trying to hush him, he got louder and louder.  Jesus called Bartimaeus out and asked him what he wanted.  Bartimaeus told him he wanted his sight, and on the spot Jesus healed his eyes.

What’s so amazing to me is that Bartimaeus knew Jesus had the ability to heal him and he adamantly pursued his healing.  He could have talked himself out of it with negative self-talk, saying he wasn’t worthy of Jesus’ time.  He could have easily disqualified himself based on past sin and imperfections.  When the crowd tried to quiet him he could have folded to peer pressure.  Instead, Bartimaeus went for it.  He knew what was available to him and didn’t waver in his confidence before Jesus.

This is the way we should live our lives with the Lord.  We can’t look at His provision for us like it’s the last can of brake cleaner that must be conserved.   God is overflowing with love, forgiveness, mercy, encouragement and strength for us.  Here’s an example of His extravagant capacity for us:

Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

Ephesians 3:20: Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.


If we approach Him with conservative expectations we may miss the opportunity to receive all He has for us and limit what He’s able to accomplish in our lives.   So, this week let’s begin to stretch our capacity to receive from the Father.  Let’s go after God and seek the endless supply He has for us!

Thankful Lifestyle

When I was 10 years old I was riding my bike with a rake across my handlebars.  Correction, when I was 10 years old I crashed my bike with a rake across my handlebars.   I was warned it wouldn’t end well and sure enough they were right when the first mailbox came by.

I got away from the wreck pretty clean but every time I see a racecar come into the pits all wadded up I just cringe at the time and cost it will take to rebuild.  There isn’t one racer who fields a car at the start of the day hoping to be involved in an accident. Despite all the precautions a person can take sometimes they still end up rebuilding.

Life is that way.  We can do everything we can to provide ourselves security and protection from the challenges we face but in the end we can’t avoid them all.  Sooner or later we are back to rebuilding and overcoming issues with our health, relationships and finances.  It is in those moments when we are truly tested where we must make a decision on how we posture our perspective on life and in our attitude with the Lord.

Regardless of the experiences we find ourselves in we are called to maintain a thankful heart (1 Thessalonians 5:18).  Being able to reflect on the goodness and grace we receive from the Lord in any circumstance may not be the easiest reaction.  However, it’s a provision He always extends to us and it assures that we keep from living a life of complaining and negativity.

About 5 years ago a man totaled my SUV while it was parked in front of my house.  I was in Texas at the time so I never met him.  It wasn’t a great thing to have happen, but I wasn’t overly stressed about it since I had insurance to cover everything.  The driver of the other car was broke and uninsured with an obvious need to rebuild his life. Knowing he was worse off than I was and just picked up a DUI, Brooke and I decided to mail the guy a check the same week it happened.  

We could have easily, almost justifiably, taken offense with the man and made his situation worse but all it would have done is robbed us of enjoying the million other great things happening in our lives.   When facing situations in life where we feel that things are unjust against us we can’t give in to the temptation of being ungrateful or worse, placing blame on God or others around us. 

These are the exact moments in time where God shines through and gets us what we need.  He’s
the solution to, not the cause of, the hardships we face.  When we maintain our focus on Him, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” (Isaiah 40:29)

This week let’s take some honest self-reflection time and analyze the different aspects of our lives where we need to let go of complaining or a negative mindset.  Let’s strive for a lifestyle of gratitude and thanks to the Lord for His incredible goodness and grace even when faced with the hardest of difficulties in life. 

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