LIFE=DEVOTION TO GOD (13 of 15)

By Travis Warren

“All the believers devoted themselves…all the while praising God.” Acts 2:42, 47

Praise is a wonderful thing. I think all of us love to receive praise and credit when we do something worthy of it. Think about it, if I saw a lost dog and I rescued it and brought it back to it’s owner and they gave me no thanks or praise, it would drive me crazy. I would at least deserve a thank you.

Or what if you saved someone’s life and they did not thank you whatsoever. No verbal thank you, no thank you card in the mail, they just walked away, or worse took the credit for what happened. They walked around telling others how great they were and how they escaped danger on their own.

I think sometimes we treat one another and more importantly Jesus like this. He saved our lives by dying on the cross and yet we often live like He did nothing for us. God provides for our business, family and relationships and we take the credit for our own success. He heals us of sickness and we credit it to medicine. There are so many ways to praise that are often missed.

Praise is giving credit where credit is due. When we see good things happening in our lives praise is giving God the credit. Not I worked so hard for my raise, but “God!!! Thank you for my raise! Thank you for providing for me and my family! You are so good!”

We need to take the time to praise God in every situation in our lives. We need to thank Him when things go well for us. We need to give Him credit for saving our lives and changing us. It’s not coincidence or happenstance it is God moving in your life!

Another way to praise is to encourage and give props to men and women who do the work of the ministry. When someone shares a good word with you, thank them. When you someone praying for another person take the time to encourage them and let them know how awesome you think that is. When you see someone bring a friend to church, when that friend is not around, give them praise for doing the work of the ministry. Give props to volunteers and anyone doing the work of the ministry.

We need to take the time to give credit to one another when it is due. We also need to take time to give credit to God for everything good in our life. Praise him for your home, your family, your food, your finances, and your job. There is so much to be thankful for!

Take some time today and evaluate some areas you need to praise God for. Search your heart and see if there are any areas where you took credit when it should have went to God. Repent and give Him the praise! Also take a minute to think about three people you’ve seen do the work of the ministry and plan to praise them this Sunday!

WEEKEND REFLECTIONS: RACING

We just finished the Washington 500 this weekend-4 classes of race cars totaling 500 laps.

Friday night we practiced and ran 140 laps. We were looking for some speed and longevity to the setup. We found both and I was stoked for Saturday, on only 12 gallons of fuel.

Saturday we arrived at the track at 10 am, got set up and did a “once over” on the car. Things were ready, so we bolted on the race tires to go scuff. After scuffing a few laps we came in and changed to a practice set.

I went out on those tires and turned a 23.480 in practice which was pretty fast compared to the 23.466 that set the pole last time we raced on the big track. I pulled the car in.

Qualifying came and we ran a 23.384 which is the fastest I’d ever been around the big track. It was good enough for the pole at the last race. One problem, Naima ran a 22.9 and shattered the crate motor track record! I would start 4th.

The car was amazing for the first half of the race. Very fast! Bad fast early! It began to fade after lap 120 pretty good. I fell from third to 6th at one point before there was some mayhem up front taking two guys out. We had a 2 lap–green, white, checkered–finish. As I was rolling under caution the car lost power in turn three. It felt like it ran out of fuel, but that’s impossible. I’d completed this race last year using only 13 gallons, and on Friday night we ran 140 laps and only put in 12 gallons of fuel–the fuel cell is 22 gallons. Something happened, I will not be able to explain it until we pull the fuel cell apart to inspect and also examine the fuel pump. We’ve replaced one fuel pump this year and the 31 car had one fail, so that may be the culprit.

The guys ran toward me with some fuel and opened the cap to pour some in. The car started to fire again. The good news was we ran so many laps under caution that the cautions no longer counted keeping me on the same lap. The bad news was we ran so many laps under caution that I had this problem, I really think if we had stayed green nothing would have happened.

Anyway, I had a legitimate shot at the podium taken from my grasp when the motor quit. We were scored officially in 6th; however, that may change as I don’t understand how a car scored ahead of me only completed 148 laps to my 149. Anyway, such is racing.

I really wanted to be on that stage for Mike this weekend, but it wasn’t meant to be. We came up short, but Jeff Barkshire did not. He won the Camping World West Series and put the 46 on the top step. I appreciated him honoring Mike in such a way, and congrats to his whole team for the hard work they have invested. Great job to all.

Next weekend is a double header on the 3/8′s. Two races, both 50-laps. See you there.

Added Tuesday: We did the research on the fuel situation tonight and after taking the fuel cell apart it is apparent that we did not have the tank topped off at the start of the race. In fact, we topped the tank off while on the scales before the first practice, but discovered in our notes we did not add fuel at any other time during the day. It was an error. Between practice and qualifying we ran about 20 laps, thus we ran out of fuel on the longest race of the year, costing us the podium.

Added Wednesday: Further investigation and testing of the spark plugs revealed we are also running very fat, meaning too much fuel. This would cause high fuel consumption as well. In addition I spoke with another engine tuner and he reminded me that when your chassis is hooked up you consume more fuel because you can be on the throttle longer.

Conclusion on Fuel situation: We certainly would have avoided all problems if we topped the tank off before the race started. In addition, we need to spend some time dialing in our carb jetting for the next 150 lap race on the 5/8′s. I’m glad to know we got the situation sorted out and look forward to this weekend.

LIFE=DEVOTION TO GOD (12 of 15)

By Travis Warren

“All the believers devoted themselves…generosity.” Acts 2:42, 46

There are times when our finances feel like a boat in the middle of a hurricane. Whether it is the state of the economy, the loss of a job, unforeseen expenses or what have you it can feel like you are being tossed around. This can leave you wondering whether or not you will survive the storm. There is a passage of scripture that speaks to this situation.

Isaiah 32:8 says in the New Living Translation, “But generous people plan to do what is generous, and they stand firm in their generosity.” This scripture tells us that if we plan to be generous then when our finances hit a storm and we don’t know if we will survive it is our generosity that we have already planned and carried out that we can anchor to; knowing will not just survive, but thrive!

Not only does generosity give us an anchor in the financial storm it also opens the door for great blessing to come our way. 2 Corinthians 9:6-11 promises that if we give generously we will reap or receive back generously. Generosity provides and anchor and a blessing!

There are three ways to plan and carry out generosity. They are:

  1. Giving finances through the tithe (10% of all your income) and offerings.

The tithe is God’s way of helping you plan to be generous and testing your faith. He makes it easy for us to be generous. God leaves not ambiguity or question about it. 10% of all your increase, 10% of your pay check, random cash that comes your way, blessings, etc… go to Him. He provides a way for the anchor and blessing of generosity to be established in our lives.

Abraham tithed in Genesis 14:20. Malachi 3 promises both an anchor and blessing when we tithe and Jesus told the Pharisees that they should keep tithing but also include a life of justice and love of God in Luke 11:42.

Our offerings are anything over and above our tithe that is we give to God. Things like giving to purchase our building, missions, ministry projects, school supplies and food. These are all offerings to God and are characteristics of generosity.

  1. Giving your time to others. People of no faith, damaged faith and great faith.

Your time is another way to plan and carry out generosity. It is equally as important as your finances and does not replace the giving of finances. Volunteering in your church as often as you can and helping with special projects are great ways to give your time to others. Also spending time with others, visiting the sick and having people over for dinner are great ways to give your time to others. Giving your time is a characteristic of a generous person.

  1. Giving your best gifts to the church.

Your talents or gifts are also another way to plan generosity. This to is equally as important as giving your finances and time and cannot be a substitution for either. God has gifted you with unique talents so that He can use those not only to create wealth in your life, but also to build the local church. Bringing your best gifts to the church is a way to plan generosity. In Genesis 4 Abel brought the best gifts he had to God and as a result God honored Abel and blessed him. Bringing your best gifts to the table and saying, “use my gifts” is a characteristic of a generous person.

Generosity will be the anchor that takes you through any financial storm and causes the windows of heaven to open and pour blessing in your life (Malachi 3:10). Plan to be generous and carry out those plans. Are you being generous? Are you tithing and giving offerings? Are you giving your time to others? Are you giving your best gifts to the church? Think about these questions and answer them honestly. See if you need to change something so you can plan to be generous. Generous people are blessed people!

A QUICK UPDATE

What a WEEK!!!! For those following the 93 Days of Summer Devotionals I will get back to them next week. It’s been a crazy week, here are the high and low points.

High Point: I’m a dad, I get to wake up every day and spend time with this new amazing life that lives with Melinda and I.

Low Point: Obviously dealing with the loss of Mike has impacted this week.

High Point: Yesterday we had a final meeting concerning the purchase of our church building and next week I sign the documents for closing.

High Point: In the last couple weeks we have received or had pledged about 130k of the 197k we needed to get the building purchased! With one week to go there is no option but to win and push this thing through. If you want to give, do so now.

Low Point: A family in our church went through a tough night this week.

High Point: I am really proud of how that family has responded to the event that happened to them.

High Point: The car is ready for the Washington 500; we practice in about 3 hours.