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Lego's and Prayers

Over the years my kiddos have compiled a pretty sizable and unique collection of Lego building blocks in the house.  Despite our best sorting of blocks I still spend 99% of my time finding the block I need and 1% building.  It’s complicated, but that’s ok.  Lego’s are not supposed to be efficient – the struggle is part of the reward in the end.

All to often we can take this Lego mentality and apply it to our relationship and communication with the Lord.  It’s pretty easy to do…I remember telling my kids during our bedtime prayer that they already were making God too complicated.   I think our motivations are pure.  We want to do our best and present ourselves well before the Lord but in the end it can cause us to be stagnant and frustrated. We’ll spend 99% of our time trying to phrase our prayers “correctly” and 1% actually in prayer.  Let’s look at the subject of prayer and how we can keep from making this fundamental communication from being complicated.

A day at the track doesn’t go by without someone stopping me to pray about something in his or her life.  That’s awesome. I believe in the power of prayer and we should ask for others to pray with us as community of believers.  There are times though that I’ve been asked to pray for something because the person isn’t sure how to make that prayer known to God themselves.  Other times it’s not related to an issue in their life, but they just want to develop a better relationship with the Lord and are not sure how to start the conversation.

If you identify with those thoughts you are definitely not alone. Praying is simply positioning your heart and attention to God and starting a conversation.  If you don’t have the words to say, maybe that’s the best way to start the prayer by saying, “Lord, I am not sure how to pray, but this is what I am thinking about …”.  There is no Biblical basis that says your prayers need to be eloquent or long….in fact, it would argue the opposite.

Jesus in John 15:15 says that we are called his friends.  We’re not subjects striving for favor, or at risk of punishment for saying the wrong things.  We are simply friends and can speak just as you would with your best of friends or spouse.  This implies that when we pray we also recognize it’s a two-way conversation.  Be sensitive to the Lord and the Holy Spirit as He responds.   It probably won’t come as an audible voice, but a thought, feeling or shift that I know was something I didn’t initiate.

Our goal in prayer is much more than checking off a box on a “good Christian” to-do list.  This is a continual attitude of being attentive and facilitating relationship with the Lord in all seasons of life.  It’s in this intimacy with the Lord that we gain an understanding of His heart and nature that allows us to operate in freedom, love and hope each day.

1 John 5:14 says “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”  Let’s take hold of this promise that the Lord hears our prayers regardless of how they are phrased, and take the performance pressure off of our prayers.


That's in the Bible?

A fairly common occurrence at the racetrack is someone asking me what the Bible says about a particular subject or what my interpretation of a verse is.  I honestly love those conversations because its thought provoking for both of us and we each gain some new perspective.  

Recently during one of these conversations I recited a verse to which the other person couldn’t believe was actually in the Bible.  They were familiar with the Bible, grew up in the church, but as life got busy their Bible reading faded.  Since their story is a recurring struggle for many, let’s remind ourselves about the importance of Bible reading and then look at some easy ways to start incorporating it into our daily lives better.

1. As the written word of God, the Bible is His message to us.  We gain insight into His nature and character, which helps us grow in our intimacy with Him.  “If anyone loves me he will cherish my word; my Father will love him and we will come to him and make him our abode.” John 14:23-24
2.  Reading the Bible gives us the standard to measure our decisions against and help us guide our adventure in life with. This is key to discerning the voice of God against the temptations we face. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
3.  The Bible brings encouragement and hope.  I personally love listening to the news and hearing what’s going on in the world.  Thankfully, we have the Bible to speak truth to us in the middle of what looks like chaos.   Romans 15:4 says, “And the scriptures were written to teach and encourage us by giving us hope.”

Reading the Bible is to our benefit so lets explore some great ways of getting the Word into our daily lives.  First, embrace the technology in your phone.  We look at our devices a 100 times a day so plant a Bible application right on the main screen as a reminder.  Our family uses the YouVersion Bible app.  Brooke also put on all our devices a feature in the app that gives you a verse of the day as a pop up notification.  I always see that verse and then can easily read more around that verse by opening the pop up. 

If you are new to Bible reading and need a good starting spot I’d recommend reading through the book of Mark or John first.  Mark is easy to read and accounts more about what Jesus did.  John focuses on who Jesus was more.  There are a zillion Bible translations out there right now.  While some get hung up on different ways they were interpreted, let’s just make sure we’re reading the Bible.  I have been using the New American Standard Bible (NASB)  - which you will see in a drop down menu of any Bible application. 

If you are really struggling to read then a great way to get going is to start a devotional.  I have many devotionals I can give for free to you that have a motorsports theme, and have many posted on the Always Racing website.  Most apps have devotionals that you can search through topically to find something that fits your current situation.  When you see the verse used in the devotional look it up and read the entire chapter or surrounding chapters for context and additional encouragement. 

Finally, establish a routine – but change it up a bit.  Think through your day and when you historically have a down moment and make that a time for Bible reading.  Personally, I like to read before bed and right when I get up in the am.  However, it’s good to change things up a bit.  Reading at a different time, and for different lengths is sometimes just what I needed.

If you need anything at all to help you get going or motivated for Bible reading please let me know.  I can provide you Bible and devotionals for free as well.  Let’s make Bible reading a priority again!


Dreaming Again

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The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
John 10:10

I have some dreams yet to fulfill in life.  I have yet to make it to the redwood forest, manage a heavy metal band, or perfectly shine rocks in a rock tumbler.  If I can make it to my minimum target age of 72 I hope to knock out those and a few more dreams along the way. 

Brooke and I recently sat down and made an intentional list of dreams.  Honestly, we had to.  We found ourselves in a really comfortable position in life.  Things were stable. We were working and ministering with passion and finally cleared a season of health issues.   Before we knew it though, another year had passed and the kids grew like weeds.  We were at risk of thinking comfort was the same as living with vitality and adventure. 

When John 10:10 refers to “the thief that comes to steal, kill, and destroy,” I always kind of assumed that as long as I didn’t feel like things were being taken from me then I must be living life and “having it to the full”.  Truth is, if we are not dreaming and pursuing then it doesn’t matter if the thief comes or not…we were not advancing anyway!

When Jesus came to earth and died for us, it was for more than just our sin.  He died for the value of what was underneath that sin.  Our life and passions are of such great value that He paid the greatest price for us to be able to dream and explore what’s possible in Him.   It’s an invitation to not just have life, but to have it to the full.  

Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap. Ecclesiastes 11:4

Even when the dreams require resources we don’t have or are seemingly impossible we can set goals to pray for vision and direction.   Let Him guide us to redefine what “life to the full” really looks like.  Take an adventure in your faith with the Lord and dream again.  


The Racing Community

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While racers initially come together to pursue sport they become part of something much greater.   Over the last few weeks all the race series we serve have opened up and finally put cars on the track.  It was wonderful experience to reconnect in what seemed more like a family reunion than a sporting event.  The depth of community in the garage or up and down pit road is incredible. 

I took a moment during the opener with the sprint cars at Williams Grove to reflect on community and what that really means.  I was witnessing connection, affirmation and encouragement at each component of our sport.  Teams were giving motivational speeches to drivers, families were bonding with young ones over how to spray down the car in mud-off, while others were praising the tremendous recovery of a driver injured last year.  

If you do a Biblical examination of what community is you are going to find many of the same attributes:
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Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” Hebrews 10:24

            “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” Philipians 2:4

            “to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions…be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.” 1 Corinthians 1:10

Racing really is an ironic twist on community.  We exemplify so much of good yet there are some very “rough” moments.  This is an exceedingly passionate sport with undeniable risks and money on the line.  It’s not an excuse for when things get heated but the environment is a catalyst for it.   However, time and time again, no matter how deep the rival there is community. 

As we gather together in sport we are also a refection of what the church / body of Christ is called to: True community – pursuing with extreme passion, investing incredible amounts of time and effort, gathering together regularly and taking care of one another’s needs.  Just as racing passions could be a catalyst for “heated moments”, our community is a catalyst for God to move in us.

Let’s really embrace this unique opportunity before us to be community.  Join with us in prayer that God continues his blessing and favor on our sport, that we experience Him in fresh and new ways through our community, and that he show us ways to make Him known in greater ways.  



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