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Made for Connection

We were created for relationship.  Thankfully, that involves kissing my wife. 

The first kiss was nerve racking.  Either she was going to kiss me back and validate my feelings for her or she was going to pull back and crush my vulnerable heart.   It was a risk, but I couldn’t maintain the status quo and it seemed like the quickest way to get some answers.     

You and I are most vulnerable when we attempt to strengthen our relationships with one another.   We reveal our true self to either experience great joy just as much as we risk disappointment and frustration.

It’s a two way street.   If we want real love and connection then we have to face rejection.   Many times we fear disconnection because feelings of shame and worthlessness skew our thinking.    In reality that is a lie that says it’s better to maintain what we have then to risk being hurt.   “Maintaining vulnerabilities is risky, but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy – the experience that make us the most vulnerable.” – Brene Brown

The perfect example of vulnerability is God the Father.  He created us full of purpose and value with the intent of relationship.  However, He allows us to make our own decision to reciprocate His love for us.   We can come to Him in any condition – mentally, physically and spiritually – and He will always return our heart and affection for Him.   “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”  (Eph 2:4-5)

He models for us the proper response to vulnerability by allowing love to overcome where we have fallen short.   His response to us is always love.  Never will we be at risk of feeling shame for our sin or worthlessness for our previous rejection of Him.   As we are vulnerable with Him, he restores and “fills you with all joy and peace so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

Our ability to experience God and relationship with others can’t be done while hiding.   There is so much more access and depth in our relationships given the opportunity to expand and grow.  As we embrace vulnerability we must also embrace and extend others love.    Just as God responds in love we need to respond in love when others are vulnerable with us.    In those moments we will learn to listen and become givers / receivers of forgiveness and encouragement.  Let’s not limit ourselves and commit to vulnerability as a foundation of relationship with God and one another.  

Racing isn't Cheap. Neither are you.

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“What does it cost to go racing? Everything you’ve got.”

It’s a classic line, but there isn’t a whole lot in life requiring more time and money than racing.

This Easter weekend we reflect on and celebrate the biggest purchase in history – the gift of life for you and me by the death and resurrection of Christ.

We are willing to invest (sacrifice) so much because we love racing. My wife and I right now are going through the process of selling our home and buying different one.  A decent contender for a new home was quickly eliminated when we discovered the driveway was so steep that I probably couldn’t back a trailer up it.    Every decision we make is filtered through the “how will this effect racing” process.   It’s the highest priority because it’s our greatest passion.  

Whatever the sacrifice, it is worth it to continue being at the tracks in ministry and keeping Jay in his quarter midget.  Underneath what someone on the “outside” may view as just a sport is true community, family and understanding.  It’s what makes our sport so valuable and why we are willing to give our time and resources to be a part of it. 

Easter is all about value, love and passion.  Despite our issues and sin, He knew there was a great value under that and paid the highest price so we could be in relationship with Him.   Romans 5:8 states, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus’s death and resurrection was because of His passionate love for us.  If we were not worth the price of his death then He wouldn’t have paid it.  If we were not worth love and relationship then He would not be so passionately pursuing us.

We are His highest priority and His greatest passion.  Don’t be distracted or discouraged by lies of shame and inadequacies the world is so quick to hand out.   You are expensive and incredibly valuable.  This weekend is the perfect time to reflect on His love and renew our affection and devotion to Him.  Let this weekend be a catalyst for an increase of Him in your life and in the lives of those around you.  

Pit Road Rumbles

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We are so close to racing! I am genuinely excited to feel exhaust burning my eyes down pit road like CS gas at basic training.  

One of my favorite moments at the track is when all cars have fired and are idling along pit road.  Each engine contributes to the orchestra of pops and revs producing a collective rumbling roar.   Walking down the line of cars your ear picks up one motor but it quickly fades into another as you pass from car to car.

It doesn’t take long though for your ears to succumb to the assault of sound and the engines just become background noise.  Everything normalizes and what was once overwhelming the senses is now managed.   It’s hard to recognize it until the moment comes when all the motors turn off.  All of a sudden you realize the ground isn’t shaking anymore.   There is no vibration in the air creating feelings of heart palpitations.   Everything becomes still and silent.

I was headed home from a race when I reached to turn up my tuck stereo since the sound of the race dulled my hearing a bit.  At that moment I felt the Lord simply impress to me the importance of maintaining my ability to hear His voice despite the chaos and noise of life.   I quickly recalled how easy it was to become accustomed to the noise and feelings of the race that night and how distinct the change is when the engines are shut off.

It’s not difficult to be overwhelmed with the sounds of life in the form of distractions, temptations and stressors.   It can become a significant noise and it’s not something we can easily excuse ourselves from.  The task then before us is to maintain our focus and direction by staying close to the heart of the Father. 

In that place is where we find peace and understanding.   Psalm 119:115 says, “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.”  This is a great encouragement and goal for us.  Even when the uncertainties of life come that He would be our first thought.  When we need direction that our eyes would be fixed on the Father and where He is leading us.  

It is my prayer, and I invite you to make it yours as well, that we don’t allow the things of this world to shift our focus, consume our thoughts or drown out the voice of the Lord.   I don’t want a false sense of peace only because I have become comfortable with managing the symptoms of chaos.    In Isaiah 26:3 it says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trust in You.” I encourage you to take time aside from your day to speak to the Lord, read a passage from the Bible and reflect on his goodness.  Lets take claim of His perfect peace.  

Staring at Cars

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One thing I do enjoy about the offseason is seeing all the cars in pristine condition.  Everything is straight, polished and the paint hasn’t been sanded or chipped away from speeding through dirt and dust.

I unexplainably can look at the same part of a car for extended period of time even though there isn’t anything new to see.    Even when I realize I am doing it - I still don’t want to look away.

Someone took a lot of time cleaning, assembling and polishing the car in hopes their attention to detail would produce more speed and turn heads while doing it. I imagine them stepping back and proudly looking over their work.   Chances are they’ve been caught in a daydream just staring at one part endlessly too.

When I see a good looking car though I don’t say to myself, “that car did a really nice job making sure it looked good today.”  Obviously the car didn’t make itself.  The car is just a reflection of the person or crew who made it.

In the same way everything we see from ourselves in the mirror, to the clouds in the sky or the snow on the ground is a reflection of our incredible creator.  Psalms 139:14 says it best, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful and I know that full well.”  Each one of us is the polished up part and cleaned up creation that He made and admires.   He takes a step back and looks at us with unconditional love for we are wonderfully made.

It may not always feel like we are polished up and without blemish, but that’s why we have relationship with the Lord.  He’s always there to encourage and comfort us.  He always there to forgive and wipe away the dirt and grime.   The next time you see a cleaned up car, let it be a reminder of our need to draw near to Him.  He’s faithful to restore and renew us when we ask Him to. 

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