<![CDATA[BBQCRITIC - Give It To God]]>Tue, 08 Mar 2016 20:55:11 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Self-Evaluate Your Life and Make Better Decisions for the Future]]>Thu, 03 Dec 2015 05:27:38 GMThttp://www.bbqcritic.com/give-it-to-god/self-evaluate-your-life-and-make-better-decisions-for-the-futureA New Year… wow, how time flies as we slip more and more into the category of “old fart” - I’ve always enjoyed this time of year for the time to “pause”, “reflect”, and “adjust” my life.  Here’s my self-evaluation to share with you and encourage you to go through a similar process of critical evaluation of your life and what course you are on compared to where you want to be:
 
Overall:
Did I have a good year? Why was it good?  Why was it bad? What good decisions did I make?  What bad decisions did I make?  If I had the year to do over, what would I change?
 
Personal Relationships:
How am I doing as a husband/Wife? Did I work on being a better husband/wife? If not, why not? Have I asked my wife/husband this question? Do I want to be a better husband/wife? What will I focus on this year to improve my role as husband/wife? How am I doing as a dad/mom? How am I doing as a brother/sister?  How am I doing as a friend?  What do I want to focus on in these areas and make solid improvements this year?
 
Career:
Am I in the right job? Is my job a source of joy in my life?  How can I do better in my job? What do I need to work on to make myself the employee I would want to hire or promote? How are my relationships at work?
 
Finances:
Are finances a source of joy or agony in my life? Do I have a finance plan?  If I’m off-track, why? How important is it that I get back on track?  When am I going to get the help I need for my finances? Do I donate enough to worthy causes?
 
Hobbies/Interests:
Did I have fun this year?  What is my source of fun in my life?  Do I need another BBQ pit? (Obvious to all of us…YES).. What plans do I have this year to make sure I have fun away from the stress of life?  
 
Relationship with Jesus:
Is Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior? If not, why not? Am I done with blaming “people” or “church” experiences for not having a relationship with Jesus? Am I ready to re-engage in Church for the right reasons? Have I read the bible? Cover to cover?  Why not? Do I pray enough? Do I thank God for His blessings in my life? Do I spend time with my wife/husband praying? Do I pray for my children? Do I pray with my children? Have I given my whole heart to God? If not, what am I waiting for?
 
My Ministry:
Do I have one? Do I want one? What would the perfect ministry for me look like? How important is it to me to have a ministry?  Am I ready to be labeled a “Jesus Freak” if I start a ministry this year?  Do I care what anybody but God thinks about a ministry for me?
 
Just some starter questions to get you going for the New Year.  A time to reflect on where we have been, where we are, and where we want to go.  Decisions have consequences…. And deciding not to make a self-evaluation is a decision.  

May God bless your year and guide you to a closer relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior!  Give it to God – your whole heart – what are you waiting for?]]>
<![CDATA[Salvation is the Solution]]>Tue, 03 Nov 2015 05:13:46 GMThttp://www.bbqcritic.com/give-it-to-god/salvation-is-the-solutionI just love our BBQ family.  In our world, the playing field is equal.  It doesn’t matter if you’re rich, poor, white, black, educated etc., we’re all on the same level, turning in our product in the exact same boxes, under the same rules for
everyone.  Pits come in all kinds of different configurations and guys have won cooking on every conceivable kind of cooker out there from under $100 to over $15,000! BBQ unites us by virtue of a shared passion and breaks down the walls that separate us in society. It’s one of the many attributes of BBQ that make it the great sport that it is.  Come to think of it, our BBQ world could teach the other “World” a thing or two.  
 
Funny how things have changed in the world of politics.  We’re a full year out and you would have thought the election was in the next month.  We’ve had debates and campaign reporting has been a nightly event for months already.
 
Caroline and I find value in following the political world.  The value, is a focus on what we need to pray for.  God wants us praying all the time…. (1 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, [Luke 18:1 NKJV])…  
 
The downside is a feeling of hopelessness.  It’s a barrage of stories of how the devil roams about the earth destroying lives, families, hopes, and dreams on a daily basis.  In part, that is the “business” of News.  Bad news sells and Good News doesn’t get the ratings.  God knows this and, in His brilliance, He designed it so that we…you and I…. would bring the Good News to people on a daily basis.  It’s the same Good News manifested in new ways, new situations every day.  It’s the News that Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, came down from Heaven,
became man, bore our sins and made the way for us to spend eternity with God the Father in Heaven.  And our price is surrender to His will in our lives.  That’s called Salvation, that’s called becoming born-again.  When this happens to people, it’s an amazing, and un-deniable.  (17 Therefore, if anyone [is] in Christ, [he is] a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. [2Co 5:17 NKJV])  It’s the gift from God for all of us, paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ.  At this point, I just gotta throw in there…. What are you waiting for?  Give it to God.
 
Returning to the political world we live in, this translates to the solutions we are all looking to find and it’s right before our eyes….. Salvation is the Solution.
 
Terrorism: Salvation is the Solution
Political gridlock: Salvation is the Solution
Broken homes: Salvation is the Solution
Murdering Children legally: Salvation is the Solution
Lying politicians: Salvation is the Solution
Corrupt governments: Salvation is the Solution
Human trafficking: Salvation is the Solution
Drug trade: Salvation is the Solution
Child abuse: Salvation is the Solution
Sexuality and Gender issues: Salvation is the Solution
Tables of death : Salvation is the Solution
Angel tables : Salvation is the Solution
Addiction: Salvation is the Solution
Poverty: Salvation is the Solution
National debt: Salvation is the Solution
Congress: Salvation is the Solution
President: Salvation is the Solution
Supreme Court: Salvation is the Solution
Hollywood: Salvation is the Solution
Main stream Media: Salvation is the Solution
Fox News: Salvation is the Solution
Thugs: Salvation is the Solution
All Lives Matter: Salvation is the Solution
Planned Parenthood: Salvation is the Solution
Republicans: Salvation is the Solution
Democrats: Salvation is the Solution
White, Black, Yellow, Green, purple, turquoise, chartreuse… people of all color:
Salvation is the Solution
American, African, Mexican, Asian, European, Iranian, Russian, Egyptian, Syrian
etc…..: Salvation is the Solution
 
Our prayers are focused…. Salvation will change the World we live in.  Are YOU saved? Have you surrendered your whole heart to God?  There’s no half-way on this, you’re either in…or out!  If you are saved, you won’t need to “sell” it, this scripture will glow in your life… 17 Therefore, if anyone [is] in Christ, [he is] a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. [2Co 5:17 NKJV]

Today is YOUR day to become a part of God’s Solution!  Give it to God! 
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<![CDATA[BBQ Baptism Highlight of My Career]]>Sat, 03 Oct 2015 03:57:42 GMThttp://www.bbqcritic.com/give-it-to-god/bbq-baptism-highlight-of-my-careerAm I doing what God wants me to be doing?  Do I hear that, still, small voice of God directing my life?
 
These are questions I ask myself on a daily basis.  Doesn’t matter if things are going great, or there are mountains of struggles that I’m wading through.  I have been convinced, over and over, that God’s plan for my life is far greater
than anything I could have imagined and my commitment to serve Him, and deepen my relationship with Him matures every day.
 
All of us in Pro BBQ strive for the ultimate victory every time we pack up our trailers, set up camp, and cook through the weekend.  It’s the vision of hearing your team name called LAST.  Grand Champion has a very special ring to our ears.  It makes the trip home so much more FUN!  When we think back on the weekend, we don’t ask…. Who beat me? LOL.  Grand Champions put us in a club with fellow competitors that is very special.  Some will say that some GC’s are better than others, but I would disagree, each one is special, each one puts a mark on your career.  When all is said and done in our Pro BBQ careers, however long that may be, we will look back with joy at those special moments when our name was called LAST.
 
For me, I will remember those GC times for sure, but one time, one moment, will stand out as the ultimate highlight for Give it to God Pro BBQ.  Recently, I competed in Vidalia, LA… an amazing contest and one of the top contests in the country.  As I was walking around, one of the cooks, Billy Staggs stops me and asks, “my brother has been watching your videos over the last year and was wondering if you would have the time to BAPTIZE him this weekend?”  I was blown away and jumped on the opportunity.  At 4 PM, we were at the pool and I had the honor of baptizing Lee Staggs into God’s family.
Picture
Jeff Petkevicius Baptizes Lee Staggs into God's Family
Now, keep in mind, that baptisms, for me, are extremely emotional and represent a saved soul from the grips of the devil.  I get all choked up every time I watch one.  Thank God, I was able to hold it together to enjoy the moment
with Lee.
 
I tell you all this, because I will look back on that moment as the highlight of my BBQ career.  A moment that demonstrated how God has worked through me for His glory.  Many times I’ve wondered, but never again.  As my beautiful wife Caroline told me…” this makes the 5 years worth it”!
 
57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. [1Co 15:57-58 NLT]
 
 
Salvation
Salvation changes everything
It brings rivers of tears
To a life of ignorance
Of a man on a tree….. for me.
Salvation shifts the focus
Away from me…
Clearly on thee
Salvation moves desire
From a buzz, a nightcap, a TGIF
To dive into His Word and find real relief
Salvation highlights why…how and When…
I deserve Hell, no questions, no excuse, no spin
Salvation deploys the grace that wipes it all clean
Salvation changes everything
And only God….
Only God…
Only GOD.
He wants…and deserves… our whole heart
 
What are you waiting for?
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<![CDATA[Win or Lose - God Brings Good News at a BBQ Contest]]>Thu, 03 Sep 2015 03:36:10 GMThttp://www.bbqcritic.com/give-it-to-god/win-or-lose-god-brings-good-news-at-a-bbq-contestAnother Sunday Morning…. Post BBQ Contest.  I wake up knowing that I just competed this weekend and very similar to when I was a party animal…. I start to rummage through my mind to remember what happened.  Not being a drinker anymore, it’s actually easier to remember. But then….but then, the agony of defeat is all too common on these Sunday Mornings.
 
It’s the reality of my Professional BBQ career.  I am definitely not putting together a Hall-of-Fame resume.  Time after time, week after week, contest after contest, I cook my heart out.  I work the craft of competition BBQ relentlessly even practicing on weekends I don’t compete.  I load up, travel, set up and get to cooking, all the while hoping, beyond hope, that this is the day.  
 
I don’t have to win it, I really don’t, just stay consistently in the top 5 and I’m a happy, happy camper.  So the contest marches through it’s rhythm of preparation, cooking and turn-ins.  All is said and done, it’s in the hands of the judges and I break camp and get ready for awards and the ride home…hoping the phone call to Caroline is different this time… maybe some Good News.
 
Award presentation time and we move from 10th place to 1st and aside from an occasional consolation call… I sit, and I sit, and I sit… I watch and hear the names of friends called and I try to be happy and congratulate them, all the while feeling ashamed and embarrassed concocting thoughts of them thinking how bad a cook I really am.  I mean, “he” cooks all the time, you’d think he would do better?  I stick around as long as I can take it, and then to the truck for the ride home and the phone call to Caroline.  
 
That call is similar, I got my butt kicked…. I know I cooked well, she agrees and tries to help, but there is no help, there is no consolation, it’s misery and grief…because I let it be that way. I make the decision to wallow in self-pity.
 
What I am quick to set aside, to ignore, to downplay…is the exceptional Good News that I have to share at every contest.  The Good News of Jesus Christ as the Savior of us ALL.  The fact that this life has a time-line, we all have a turn-in date, and we all will be judged.  The GREAT NEWS is that on that day, in that moment, every one of us has the opportunity to be Grand Champions by simply making the choice to accept the Love of Jesus into our hearts and make Jesus our Lord and Savior.   
 
In the grand scheme of things… THAT matters, THAT is important.  THAT stands for eternity…   TRUTH. [Rom 10:9-11 NKJV] 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."
 
How often I forget that, how often I chose to overlook the truth!  I’m a competitor and God wired me that way.  He knows how much I want to win and His choice is for me to languish in defeat to serve His purpose with my Life. As hard as it is….THAT, is a Blessing I desire to understand more and more.  I am ashamed of losing God’s perspective for 1 second, but I do it regularly and I ask God to forgive me…. And He DOES.

1 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God's right hand. 2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. 3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory. [Col 3:1-4 NLT]

28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. [Rom 8:28 NLT]

11 Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again--my Savior and my God! [Psa 42:11 NLT]

 
I’m not the best at Pro BBQ, not even close… But I’m gonna show up. I probably won’t win, but you will know I was there.  To stop competing is the most selfish decision I could make and would permanently label me a loser.  Not going to happen.. my time is here and now, regardless of the score sheets.  God’s purpose for me, today, and always will be in the seeds planted for hearts to turn to Jesus Christ.  Give it to God.  What are you waiting for?
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<![CDATA[Are You Wealthy?]]>Mon, 03 Aug 2015 02:14:12 GMThttp://www.bbqcritic.com/give-it-to-god/are-you-wealthyOne of the greatest blessings that goes along with Pro BBQ is all the time I have to drive to, and from, contests. Over the last year and a half, I have put on more than 50,000 miles and I have enjoyed every one of them.  For me, all that time in the truck, is precious.  I tune in Christian radio, or listen to my CDs and get into prayer, praise and worship.
 
One of my all-time favorite songs is by Mercyme, “I can only imagine”.  Every time I hear it, I think about the moment when I will be standing in front of God….the CREATOR GOD. Here is a verse that really hits me:  
 
To be surrounded by your glory​
What will my heart feel​
Will I dance for you Jesus​
Or In awe of you be still​
Will I stand in your presence​
To my knees will I fall​
Will I sing hallelujah​
Will I be able to speak at all​
I can only imagine, yeah, I can only imagine


Yesterday afternoon, the wife and I were just enjoying a nice afternoon at the house.  BBQd some steaks for a late lunch and were just hanging out.  Caroline snapped this picture:
And as I reflected on it later in the evening, I thought, I could NEVER have imagined my life the way it is RIGHT NOW!  I never could have imagined the peace, joy, calm, comfort, secure, happy, fun, engaged, connected, evangelical life I’m living 365/24/7.  Caroline loves me more than I could ever deserve and I feel it everyday.  Our furry babies give me indescribable love, I have my own BBQ business that I love and I get to hang out with the most amazing people on the Pro BBQ tour 25-30 weekends a year.  
 
Am I wealthy…YES! Extremely Wealthy, because God’s definition of wealth is: “Wealth is not determined by how much you have, it’s determined by how little you need”
 
Absolute truth is that I have Jesus in my heart, I’m all in for what He needs me to do while I’m here with a pulse.  I am His and He is mine and I need nothing else.  A direct result of my surrender to His lordship is a life I never could have imagined, awaiting the moment we meet face-to-face.
 
8 Then I heard the Lord asking, "Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?" I said, "Here I am. Send me." [Isa 6:8 NLT]  
 
20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ
lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved
me and gave himself for me. [Gal 2:20 NLT]  

 
If you haven’t given your whole heart to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are missing out on the life that will blow you away, as it does me.  Whatever is holding you back, whatever is keeping you apart from making that complete surrender… Kill IT!  Give your whole heart to God.  What are you waiting for?
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<![CDATA[God Blesses Sanctioned and Non-Sanctioned BBQ Events]]>Fri, 03 Jul 2015 01:43:58 GMThttp://www.bbqcritic.com/give-it-to-god/god-blesses-sanctioned-and-non-sanctioned-bbq-eventsDuring my daily bible reading this came up the other day…
 
24 But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus--the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God. [Act 20:24 NLT
 
Wow, this hit me right between the eyes.  It’s so cool how God will use His Word – the Bible -  to speak to us with messages we need to hear, exactly when we need to hear them.  No matter how many times we’ve read a piece of scripture, God will re-cycle it to pinpoint what He needs us to hear at the moment we need to hear it.
 
Last month, I made the decision to do a small little cook-off in Brookhaven, MS.  I learned about it at the KCBS event there a month earlier.  I was given a flyer for a block party, chicken and rib cook-off sponsored by the Pleasant Ridge Pentecostal Church.  The plan was to have a stage with Christian music, games and fun for all.  I just had to check it out.   
 
As usual, I got there early and was the only team on-site.  Picked out my spot and began to set up.  The organizers welcomed me and were excited that my billboard for Jesus truck and trailer would be front and center so people driving by would see it.  Towards late afternoon, the teams started arriving and setting up and by early evening everyone was in place…..All 8 of us.
 
Went to bed early and up at 3 A.M. to get my game-face on and get things rolling.  I love that time of the morning where everything is quiet and the world is just beginning to wake up and welcome in another day.  As I sat there, with my coffee and bible, I asked God… what am I doing here?  This is a non-sanctioned, tiny event with only 8 teams?  Do you really want me here?  As God is as God does… the answer came quickly.  After spending some time with new friends just yucking it up as men do at BBQ contests, eating some, made from scratch, wild hog biscuits and telling the thank you fairy story to every team.. He began to show me.
 
One after another, guys were coming over to my camp and wanting to share their story with me.  Some shared struggles they were having, others wanted to share their journey and trials along the way.  Each of them felt a comfort with opening up to me on deeper issues of the heart…. And that was the clear answer from God.  THIS was exactly where He needed me to be, for these men to share their hearts with someone they could trust.  What an honor and a privilege.
 
The contest ended like they all do, I walked away seeing God in new ways and making friends that will last a life-time.  I share all of this with you because God’s plan for your life is HUGE, but it may be very small as the world sees it.  His plan may be for your biggest impact to happen in the smallest crowds.  His glory and plan are for everyone to see the light of Salvation through what we do and how we live our lives.  The first step in all of this is to surrender to the King of Kings, Jesus Christ.  He wants your whole heart and nothing less.  Once done, you will
wonder why it took so long to make that decision.  Give it to God…What are you waiting for?  God bless you, I love you! 
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<![CDATA[Positive Thoughts after a BBQ Competition Brings Joy to the Heart]]>Wed, 03 Jun 2015 01:32:28 GMThttp://www.bbqcritic.com/give-it-to-god/positive-thoughts-after-a-bbq-competition-brings-joy-to-the-heartAnother contest, another absolute butt-kicking… and man does it hurt.  I work so hard, put my whole heart and soul into the cook, only to come out middle or bottom at the end.  Sundays are tough these days after contests.  It’s the same feeling I had after losing a big game while playing at San Jose State University…didn’t happen often, but it’s an empty, pain in the pit of my stomach.  The reality is that, win or lose, it’s in the books.  There is nothing you can do about it.  It’s what draws us to the sport, feeds our competitive spirit, and drives our Sunday celebrations or depressions.  I usually snap out of it by mid day, but it’s a rough road that I bump along.
 
Ok, so many of you that follow my BBQ adventures…aka ministry, know that I make videos from each contest.  It’s a fun way to catalog the event and reflect on over time.  These have evolved into a template where I share interactions with fellow cooks, talk about the event and chronicle the location.  About mid-way through, I take a little break and fade to a slide show of all the pictures I take during the contest.  I try and get around and catch every team at some point during the cook.  It usually happens on Friday morning, very early, that I sit down in my little cook area and turn on the recorder to capture some audio that will play along with the slide-show.  These little talks give me the chance to reflect on the moment, the calm, peaceful reflection of what is the essence of Professional BBQ.
 
After the contest in Brookhaven, MS, I made the video and was watching the final edit.  I didn’t notice, but Caroline was listening behind me.  After that, we packed up for church and headed off.  I was lamenting about the loss, the hurt, the pain, the dis-appointment, and Caroline just listened quietly.  Then she dropped the bomb…. She says, “you know, I listened to your video this morning and you talked about everything you love about BBQ.  You mentioned the people, the cooking, the relationships, the sharing of meals, holding cooks church, the travel to different communities…”  I said, “yeah, that’s what I love about the whole process”.  And then she says,"You don’t mention winning!"
 
Talk about dropping the BOMB… Wow, it hit me between the eyes.  There is so much that I take away from the competitions that brings joy to my heart, but I put them on the side-line to the results, which don’t come to mind when I think about what I love in BBQ.
 
It’s taking for granted the blessings God pours out to us every day that we simply dismiss.  For some reason, looking at the negative is a magnet for our thinking and reflection time…when it should NOT be.  I know it’s human nature, I know it’s the competitive spirit we all have in this sport, but that doesn’t make it right or put into its proper perspective.  God’s love for us is consistent, no matter the outcome and that is worth celebrating every day, over and above, where we finish on the score-sheet.  God’s plan for us is perfect, have you given Him your whole heart?  You can take His promises to the bank.  God bless you and read this scripture very slowly, it will give you the right perspective for your next “Sunday-after” feelings.
 
1 A psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need. 2 He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. 3 He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. 4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. 5 You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. 6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever. [Psa 23:1-6 NLT]
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<![CDATA[Win a Grand Champion in BBQ and in Life]]>Thu, 28 May 2015 20:28:03 GMThttp://www.bbqcritic.com/give-it-to-god/win-a-grand-champion-in-bbq-and-in-lifeThe Score sheet!  That all important packet of papers we run to pick up after a contest.  With grueling anticipation we dive into it.  The front page tells the story, where we finished in each category, where we finished on our table, total scores…data, data, data and we dig to digest it as quickly as possible…. But, where did we finish overall? So we shift to the overall ranking page and search with hope that our name is near the top 10 already called…. Praying that we don’t have the dreaded… “page flip” and wind up near the bottom, or God forbid.. Last!
 
It’s what we do, every contest and the excuses, and justifications are mostly the same every week… it’s bad judging, certainly not my BBQ, it was the best I’ve ever cooked. They don’t know good BBQ…. or do they?
 
Can you imagine if two months prior to your competition, the six judges that will be at your table for chicken came to your house to help you dial in what they are looking for?  I mean, not only do they come over, but they stay as you cook your chicken for them and they evaluate it right there for you.  You keep cooking and they keep giving you feedback until there is a consensus that when you turn in the chicken you’ve worked on with their guidance, they are all going to give you 999.   
 
If such a scenario were possible, you would be completely attentive to what the judges are looking for.  They are JUDGING you.  Your personal preferences would not come close to entering into the recipe.  You may want lots of sauce, but they want light sauce and close to dry.  You like sweet, they like heat.  Who cares what you want, you’re cooking light sauce and heat.  You can be stubborn and bull headed and stay with heavy sauce and sweet, but you know what the scores will be, they are telling you 7’s on taste if you do that.
 
What a gift it would be if that were the case. What a joy to know the outcome ahead of the contest. The awards ceremony would take on a whole new level of excitement for all of us.
 
Truth is, we are all in a much more significant contest called “Life”, and Jesus is going to Judge each and every one of us.  The scenario I just painted for BBQ is available for each of us, with a much greater GC on the line. The Bible is a treasure of insight and detail to exactly what God wants for our lives.  He holds nothing back about how He wants us to live, treat others and tell people about Him.  He is willing to work on us, with us, until we get it right.  God wants us to have a perfect 999 when we show up at His doorstep.
 
19 So Jesus explained, "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he is doing. In fact, the Father will show him how to do even greater works than healing this man. Then you will truly be astonished. 21 For just as the Father gives life to those he raises from the dead, so the Son gives life to anyone he wants. 22 In addition, the Father judges no one. Instead, he has given the Son absolute authority to judge, 23 so that everyone will honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son is certainly not honoring the Father who sent him. 24 "I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life. [John 5:19-24 NLT]
 
My prayer for each of you is that you pick up the bible and read for yourself what God’s plan is for YOU!  Go to God in prayer asking Him to get into you, what He needs you to have through His word.  God is faithful and will answer that prayer when you give Him your whole heart in surrender to His will.  Jesus is there as our Lord and Savior awaiting the best decision you can make.  The last walk we make depends on it!  What are you waiting for?  Give it to God!
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<![CDATA[Life And Death On the BBQ Trail A Sobering Experience]]>Wed, 29 Apr 2015 19:48:26 GMThttp://www.bbqcritic.com/give-it-to-god/life-and-death-on-the-bbq-trail-a-sobering-experienceGod is working on us all the time.  The closer we draw to Him, the more complete our surrender to Him, that still, small voice becomes clear and distinct.  To say that the last month has been extra-ordinary would be a start,
but not sufficient.  As a man of God, I am blessed in so many ways to have the opportunity to be up close and personal, watching God work His love and grace on the lives of people around me.  Having been on the Pro BBQ circuit for 5 years and just completed my 100th competition, there is a growing crowd of great friendships I have been blessed with.

One of those relationships that started in Bainbridge GA, was with Bill Allen of Hollywood and Swine BBQ out of New Jersey.  We met, became quick friends and I was looking forward to another BBQ family relationship.  Bill decided to use my Goal Line rub on his chicken, took 1st out of 73 and had a perfect 180…dat’s what I’m talking about.  After the contest and celebration, I went to say my good-bye’s and God had me give Bill a bible that was on my front seat.  I handed the bible to Bill, said Good bye and walked away. Bill collapsed and passed away.  Life and death.  We all have Life and will all have death.  Shocking reality and sobering experience.
 
God’s work on me is heavily focused on grace.  God pours out grace (unmerited favor) on us all the time.  Jesus went to the cross and died for our sins as the ultimate expression of God’s Grace.  The point is it needs to be extended from us as well as an expression of Jesus living in our hearts.  Much easier said than done, because it seems to feel better to hold onto a grudge, justify blowing people off, and wallowing in our own self pity and righteousness.  That’s our reaction, (mine included) but not God’s.  God wants us to extend grace in all situations, and remind people that Jesus came down to save us from the sins that will keep us from spending eternity with God.
 
I have a choice.  How do I represent God?  How do I preach? Do I preach the fear of God, and the consequence of sin to remind myself and everyone that I deserve hell?  Or do I proclaim Jesus, lift up the answer of salvation
through Jesus?  The second one requires a shift in tone - a new “tongue” to speak hope, life and glory through surrender to Jesus as Lord and Savior.  I’m already seeing the positive results, and I have to focus on this new direction.  I know God is right there with me coaching me along the way.
 
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," [Rom 3:23 NKJV]  
 
"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God,
to those who are the called according to [His] purpose." [Rom 8:28 NKJV]
 
We have life, and we will all have death - and in the middle Jesus is right there to help us prepare for when we stand before God.  He wants your whole heart… Give it to God…what are you waiting for?
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<![CDATA[God Moves In Our Lives Even When Things Breakdown]]>Wed, 18 Mar 2015 19:24:37 GMThttp://www.bbqcritic.com/give-it-to-god/god-moves-in-our-lives-even-when-things-breakdownLet me just share with you some of what happened behind the scenes with my recent Pro BBQ "adventure".  I left the Sam's competition in Daphne and got to just the other side of Mobile out of the tunnel.  Was talking to my wife on the phone and actually lamenting about where I came in... poopy poop finish.  Of course, I blew by my 3rd place rib and went right to the other bad finishes and had that "kicked in the gut" feeling of losing.  As I'm talking on the phone, I feel my trailer kick to the side.  I look out the driver side mirror and see nothing, I look out the passenger mirror and I see my wheel detached from the trailer and the hub hitting the ground and exploding in sparks.  I look out the driver mirror again and see the wheel and tire bouncing toward the median.  I'm going 65 mph and I know I have to get off the freeway.  God puts exit 25B - Virginia Street RIGHT THERE and I take the exit and pull to the shoulder, dragging my trailer with me.  All Safe and Sound.

I get out, walk around and see the picture below....OK, NOW what do I do??  Thought for a moment, and then... call Bobby!  a year ago this past fall, coming home from Lakeland, FL my truck blew the engine.  Put a post on Facebook and within minutes, Bobby and family were there.

Bobby had the truck towed to his shop and eventually we sold it, for scrap, but he took care of it... so who else would I call :)  Bobby is at the competition packing up and says, just hold on, I'll send  Miles Lankford​ over and
I'll be there as soon as I can.  Miles gets there and we assess that this is a really poopy situation LOL... Bobby has me call Pitts towing and we start that process.  In the mean time, cooks are driving by and see me on the side of the road.  My phone starts to blow up.  James Lirette​ and Justin Proctor​ drive past, turn around, exit, park and walk up the ramp to check on me.  Jay Rowell​ is calling to see what needs to be done... All is good, we load up the trailer on the tow truck and head to Bobby's shop and "dump" it there.  I know this is bad, the axle is wasted, the leaf spring is shot and this is going to be a BEAR of a job to get it done right.  I notice when we pull up to Bobby's shop that there are at least a hundred trucks stacked up in the service area.. I know for sure that Pensacola is not an option and Bainbridge is questionable at best for the following weekend.  Bobby tells me, "you're cooking in Pensacola".. ok Bobby, sure, whatever you say.  As I'm driving home, feeling beaten down from the competition and then the trailer and not having the extra cash to get it all paid for, I knew that I would have to cancel some competitions and for the first time in my BBQ career, I started to question if I should be doing this.  I knew God
wanted me to keep going, but I started to doubt my desire to keep going.. what's the use?  Why?
 
As I'm driving home, without, my trailer, I get a phone call from David Mauro​. David goes on to ask how things are and tells me I gotta still cook Pensacola. I tell him he's nuts.  Then he goes on to say, "Hey look Jeff, I'm taking my big RV to the contest which means that my little 24 foot porch trailer will be at home.  I'll keep it all  plugged in so the fridge is good and all you gotta do is hook up, throw you cookers on it and get to the comp."  I'm thinking, dude, you have eaten way too many donuts, you're nuts, no way... to think that he would offer his trailer to me AND persistently push for me to go, that I had to be there.... God was starting his "breakdown" process.
 
Monday comes and it didn't take long.  Bobby is texting me pictures of the crew picking up the trailer with a fork lift, and tearing it down. Axle off.  The pictures just keep coming and I'm thinking about the shop and all the work
going on...and man, these guys are busting a move on this one.  A little later, early afternoon, I get a text from Bobby telling me that it took some effort, but they found an axle and will get it installed and finish up Tuesday Morning.
 
In between all this, I get calls from Jay Rowell and David Clarke​ and they have the audacity to tell me that a group is getting together to make sure I don't have a bill to pay.  Earlier in the day, I put a post up that I would need help
and a bunch of guys started sending chunks of money to our pay pal account.  The whole time, I am humbled and, quite frankly, overwhelmed, by what's going on.
 
So then, Bobby sends me a phone video of the trailer rolling down the road outside his shop... I cried, I cried...Not because of the trailer being fixed, but because of the LOVE that was behind the whole experience.  I told Caroline that what tears me up is that I KNOW it's not me, it's the Jesus in me that they see and want to do it for... it's amazing.. Bobby and I talk later and I ask, "Bobby tell me what the bill is." His response? "For you, nothing."  I'm like, COME ON, no way. Bobby, tell me what it is? He is persistent and his response was, "you're not taking away my blessing, this is on ME".  Talk about feeliing the Love of JESUS. He also went on to share that they had plans to use a flatbed trailer to haul mine to Pensacola if necessary. These boyz are NUTS, i tell ya NUTS!
 
Trailer was completely repaired, and I cooked Pensacola!  God is good.  I share this as a testimony to how God moves in our lives when we give Him our whole Heart.  He will involve others, and truly touch our hearts with fruits, with undeniable proof that God is God, He loves us and - "ALL things work together for good, for those who love God, for those who are called according to His purpose." (Rom 8:28)
 
Thank YOU God, and thank YOU BBQ Family! Give it to God, what are you
waiting for?
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