With the New Year comes new decisions. If you are like me you have a routine, things you do to start the day, things you do during the day and things you do at the end of the day. They help give a structure to our day, a framework that has a certain security and comfort to it. Let’s break out of that this year and step out on faith. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Many race teams have them; checklists. You can see them if you visit the garage, taped to the side of the car with a list of work to be done, items to be checked. Some of the best teams have a process they do religiously after each race. The checklist is completed, initials identify the person who completed the work. Once the car is put back to a baseline condition then the preparations for the next race can start. Out comes the new list.

I read about a successful young driver trying to make his way up the ranks, you may have heard of him, Carl Edwards. He shared about the routine he had developed after each race. When he would return to the shop, no matter what hour, he would clean the car; he drove on dirt. He would put the car up on stands, tires off and any issue at the track would be addressed. He shared if it was time for a refresh then the engine would be taken out and prepared to go to the engine builder. His theory was that although it was late and he was tired he would be ready to hit the ground running the next day instead of trying to remember what needed to be done to the car for the next race. He credited this strategy with helping him be one step ahead of the competition.

Religious activity can be applied to many things in life, from racing to church. Sometimes we get so caught up in religion that we forget the life we have been called to requires that we walk in faith. Faith means trusting God to lead, guide, council, convict and discipline. Giving someone else control of our life is not a comfortable place for us. We like the framework of religion, dos and don’ts that help us define boundaries. The problem is that when we limit ourselves by that framework we are not allowing God to prompt us to step out of our box.

We can see the same thing at the track, teams that just do what they know works perform well for a while, but by not looking for a way to improve, change, move forward soon they are not at the top of their game. We need to continue to push outside of the box if we want to improve. Faith requires that we use the framework to give us the confidence to broaden our horizons.

Hebrews 11:1-3, (NIV), Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

You see there was this community in Texas and all five churches were having a terrible problem with squirrel infestations. Predictably, they all had different ways of dealing with the problem.

The Presbyterian church called a meeting to decide what to do. After much prayer and consideration they determined that the squirrels were predestined to be there, and they shouldn’t interfere with God’s divine will.

In the Baptist church, the squirrels had taken up habitation in the baptistery. The deacons met and decided to put a cover on the baptistery and drown the squirrels in it. The squirrels escaped somehow and there were twice as many there the next week.

The Methodist church got together and decided that they were not in a position to harm any of God’s creation. So, they humanely trapped the squirrels and set them free a few miles outside of town. Three days later, the squirrels were back.

The Catholic church came up with what they thought was the best and most effective solution: they baptized the squirrels and registered them as members of the church. Now they only see them on Christmas and Easter.

Still, the Jewish synagogue beat them all: they took one squirrel and had a short service with him called a bris — and they haven’t seen a squirrel on the property since.

Keeping within their religious framework didn’t allow them to think outside their box to deal with the problem. Religion can be a hindrance to stepping out on faith. God provides a baseline security for each of us. Jesus died for our sins, through acceptance of Him we receive forgiveness and our eternity is secure. Our relationship with God is secure, we will be victorious. He then challenges us to step out and trust Him. The Bible records the examples for us.

By faith Noah, by faith Abraham, by faith Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, by faith …. All these people were still living by faith when they died. That faith was credited to them as righteousness. What will be said about us? Will we be safe and comfortable in our religious activity? Or will we step out on faith and let the Lord lead us to a life that accomplishes things that only God could do?

We can’t just claim to be God’s Children, we must walk by faith! We will only experience God’s continued blessings by stepping out on faith. Has your life become routine, flat, comfortable, and secure? My guess is you haven’t stepped out on faith in a while. You haven’t trusted God to cover you as you followed His lead. We can fall into the trap of religion and routine. Life needs to be more than that. Ask a racer, if you are not pushing the envelope you are not getting faster. Likewise, if you are not stepping out on faith, you are not living life to the fullest, you are not experiencing the abundant life that comes with following God by faith.

Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.