FIRST THINGS FIRST IN 2014

What kind of year was last year for you spiritually?  I’ve talked to many who are ready to make 2014 a year of advancement.  People are talking about starting careers, new businesses and giving more of themselves to others.  There’s talk of studying the Bible, praying more and even attending a conference or two.  Some are set out to exercise, get fit, healthy and focused on their personal success.  All these great endeavors are noble.

Yet, how will we avoid the impact of the apathetic environment around us?  What will stop the inconsistency in our spiritual walk?  There is a required shift, a shift to being consumed!

First things First in 2014:

 First of the DAY:  Seek God

…O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1 NKJV

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35

I have friends who’ve woken up every morning for 20+ years seeking God first thing.  What a marvelous discipline!  What a way to start every day.

 First of the week:  Worship

On the first day of the week we came together to break bread… Acts 20:7

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another… Hebrews 10:25

Since I was a boy my Dad always said, “While living under this roof you will attend church on Sunday.”  I didn’t always like going, but dad’s standard put a deep passion to be in God’s Church every Sunday.  I’d encourage you to make Sunday morning a priority, not because I am a pastor, but because without it most grow spiritually apathetic.

 First of the Month:  Tithe

A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord. Leviticus 27:30

…Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things. Matthew 23:23 NLT

Being a disciple of Christ means giving financially to His first love, the Church.  It’s not about the money, it’s about the first of everything belonging to Him.

 First of the Year:  Fast

Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord. Joel 1:14

But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:17-18

For many years now I’ve done a 21 day fast to start the year.  This year is no exception.

Well, there it is First Things First.  I am certain if you and I approach 2014 with these “firsts” in mind we will definitely achieve and accomplish all that is in our heart.  Make a new start in this New year.  Taking the time to talk it over with someone can help your next step toward putting God first in 2014!

Some Championship Thoughts and Thanks.

photos by Tom Vick

A lot goes through your mind in the moments leading up to a collision like this one.  The elapsed time was just seconds, but it seemed like an eternity.  I was literally trying to decide if I should clench every muscle fiber in my body, or just relax, and take the impact.  Climbing from the wreck you consider all that might have happened, but didn’t.  And then you count it all joy!  You live to race another day. Cars can be fixed, mine is in process, and I am super excited to get back racing in a few more weeks, but unfortunately I have to miss a race that’s been good to me in the past, Championship night at Evergreen Speedway.  I will be there in the pits hanging out with friends, but I am going to wait until Yakima’s Fall Classic to get back in the race car.

As the Championship at Evergreen Speedway will be settled tomorrow night I want to thank everyone who has been so supportive this season.  I am super grateful to all the FANS, and those who’ve written, tweeted, texted and Facebooked me.  I truly had no real understanding of what my racing has meant to others until I was out of the car the last 2.5 months.  Your thoughts and messages have made me more passionate than ever to get back in the seat.  To be a racer is cool, but to be encouraged to race because I am a pastor, “and that means a lot to the fans,” as one person put it, well, that’s beyond words for me.

To all my sponsors also, thanks for the awesome season…I owe you some victories, and I will make it up to you!

National Guard

To the National Guard and Doug Hobbs for making the connection, thank you.  To those soldiers on the front stretch, thank you for taking pics with me week one.  Kneeling with you in my drivers suit was one of the proudest moments as a racer.  To think I could be apart of promoting some of the most selfless people on the planet, our soldiers, was a great honor for me.

Superior Powdercoating.

To Andy Sole and his entire team at Superior.  Thank you for taking care of my car and making it look so great. I know my last minute drop in to “get one more part colored” were sometimes inconvenient, but you always delivered.

SIR Construction.

Thank you Scott, not only for your belief in me as a race car driver, but trusting me enough on Sunday morning to come to church.  I’ve had a blast representing you not only on the race car, but on the radio show as well.

Sound Realty–specifically Sellingsnohomish.com

Joe and Mary, you are some of the most awesome sponsors I’ve ever had.  When you hunted me down, found me in a restaurant just to say, “We want to help get you back on the track,” was one of the coolest things any sponsor has ever done for me.  You make me want to keep racing and winning.  I’ve had a blast promoting you on Winning Souls also!  And those necklace’s that Mary made, they are so awesome.  I feel proud to represent you guys in all your endeavors from Real Estate to Gun Shops!!

Bethneibert.com

Beth, you are an incredibly supportive lady.  Thank you, not only for all the social media support, but for the belief in me as a pastor who races cars.  I can’t tell you how much that means to me.  I enjoy how much you enjoy being a sponsor.  It makes it super fun.

JZ Motorsports

John and Stefanie, I am super thankful the Lord brought you both into my life, not just racing.  Thanks for working so endlessly on the “pastor of disaster’s” race car.  No doubt, more on track catastrophes than we’ve all wanted, but you always look at me and say, “We can fix it!”  Thanks for staying the course.

Deyoung Inc.

Thanks Tracy for making the race car look awesome week in and week out.  This years car was the coolest I’ve ever had.

To  Jeff at Safetyshirtz for the awesome hoodies and t-shirts, to Bill at Monroe Motorwerks for housing the car at your race shop, and the whole crew at Callahan Auto Rebuild for the paint job, I’ve got some great help and I am grateful.

Finally, to all my guys and gals on the team this year, THANK YOU, and we are not done this season, Hello Fall Classic!!!

Count Your Blessings

Have you ever enjoyed a fantastic refreshing beverage!  The days are heating up in the Pacific NW and with that comes hotter temperatures, more sun and the requirement of hydration.  Nothing like refreshing cold water on a hot day at the lake, or long afternoon working, or for that matter, 100 laps on the big track at Evergreen Speedway.  I know you’ve experienced the stimulation of a drink at just the right time.  It’s good.  Real good.

Being grateful is good also.  When the proverbial water is flowing in your life it’s a game changer.  Things that didn’t work work. Stuff that’s tough to get done get’s done.  The H2O of life brings a sense of destiny, flow, excitement and accomplishment.  However, you never miss the water until the well runs dry.  An ungrateful person is a person with a limited supply of life-water.

The facts are, you can be blessed and not know it.  You can be increasing and be ignorant to the advancements.  Only when you look back can you realize that what you have is much more important than all the things you don’t have!

Have you ever found yourself stating, “I’ll be happy when…?”  Happiness doesn’t come from getting what you want, it comes from appreciating what God has already given you!  I am a firm believer that life is better than we think .  And even when I’m enduring it’s not as tough as I think it is.  So instead of fussing over what is missing in your life, stop and ask yourself, “What would you be willing to trade for what you already have?”

If there is something out there that would truly make you happier, are you going to exchange it for what you’ve already been given?  If the answer to that seems cloudy, foggy or elusive get out a piece of paper and start listing what is right about your present.  Then put a number next to each. Then count your blessings, and thank God for them.

I’m telling you, it’s never as bad as you think it is!