January 2009


Today is an historic day in the life of America. Regardless of your political affiliation or feelings about an election outcome, as Americans we must honor our government and the leader of this land. We must not minimize our duty, responsibility and even respect to those in authority.  It is an unbelievable sight to watch this very peaceful passage of power every 4 or 8 years. Though the campaign trail may at times feel like a war zone, there were no shots fired, political coups or unnecessary violence leading up to this transition. We are blessed to live in the United States of American and today we should clearly remember that fact.

 

As Americans, we have a duty to do the following:

1)       Support Your President. This means you must stand behind the man who is in authority over this country. (Romans 13:1-7) You do not have to support each policy or action, but supporting the office of the President is critical to the strength of America.

2)       Pray for Your Government and Its Leaders. Take time each day to thank God for this county and ask Him to give supernatural guidance, wisdom and direction to the leaders placed in power.  

3)       Get Involved and Make Your Voice Heard. Though the election is over, policies and decisions will be made that directly affect you. It is up to us to let you government know how you feel and what you believe.

 

I thank God that I am a citizen of the United States of America. This is the greatest country on earth and on this inauguration day, I am proud to be an American.

 

Striving for The Best! –mwr

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The search for significance is a lifelong journey. No matter what your background, socio economic status, political leaning or any other factor, every person, on some level searches for significance in their life.  Countless books, sermons, speeches and other materials have been prepared on this subject alone. My favorite definition is “the quality of being significant or having a meaning.” We all want to live a life that is more than a meaningless existence. The exact answer is a very personal one and will be different for every person, but I believe you must fulfill the following 3 areas to personally accomplish your lifelong exploration for significance:

 

Spiritual Significance – Every person has a “God shaped hole” in their being. There are countless religions and beliefs looking to a higher power and answers to this life. There are even “unbeliefs,” but in and of themselves they are acknowledging the presence of something or someone. The search for significance begins and ends with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. All the other factors revolve around this critical threshold.

Emotional Significance – Being tied to others on an emotional level will complete your search. I thought my life was complete before my girls….and then they arrived. Your marriage, your parental bond (both with your parents or figures and with your own children), and those very special friendship bonds reserved for only the closest friends are some of the areas where we develop emotional significance.

Physical Significance – Humans crave touch. As babies we are immediately cradled and held. As kids, a hug and kiss from a parent means the world. As teenagers, a high 5 from your coach, hug from your parents or even holding the hand of your “first love” are important. As adults, touch usually means comfort, welcome and safety. Physical significance is also achieved via accomplishments such as contests, sports, accolades, raising your family, education and professional development.

 

The success of your life will ultimately be determined by how your resolve these three important areas. My daily walk is consumed by becoming a WORLDSHAKER. For me that means i) being the best husband, father, son, brother and person I can be; ii) working with others (especially teenagers) to help them realize their full potential; iii) making a professional impact through opportunity, drive, training and skill; iv) leaving an indelible positive mark on this earth; and v) doing something that is bigger than me!

 

Striving for The Best! –mwr

 

Ed. Note – This may be my most difficult post to date. It literally took weeks to develop these seemingly simple thoughts. I hope it will begin a string of comments below for our readers to exchange thoughts and ideas.

I normally skim Tim Steven’s blog each day to see what he is thinking. He is a great writer and always has great things to say. His post on January 9, 2009 entitled “Teenage Boys in Tight Girl Pants…Not Cool” and accompanying video is great. Since I do so much work with teenagers, the title immediately caught my attention! What a way to open up a worship service in this way was super creative and sounds like it was very effective. Here is the accompanying video he posted. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Striving for The Best! -mwr

Our church, Calvary Christian Center, has embarked on a 21 day corporate fast during the month of January, joining many other congregations across the country, like Free Chapel (Gainsville, GA). Most people I know are embarking on the Daniel Fast, though several have undertaken a full fast (water only) or a liquid fast. The Daniel Fast is a partial fast, referenced in the Bible in Daniel 1:8-16 (10 day fast) and Chapter 10 (21 day fast). Boiled down to its simplest form, it is a physical sacrifice to God by foregoing “choice foods” and eating fruits and vegetables and drinking water. Most have extended the list of included foods to whole grains and nuts, as well as 100% fruit juice, but definitely staying away from all meats, dairy, sugar, and processed foods.

 

The purpose of the fast is to separate yourself from the “ordinary” and use this time to draw closer to God. It is accompanied by prayer and a desire to seek Gods will for your life; however, most see physical health benefits and even weight loss as a positive side effect. My favorite part of the Biblical account of this fast is Daniel 10:12, when the Angel tells Daniel that Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.”

 

I have taken hold to this scripture for 2009 and believe that God will honor this time of prayer and fasting. So far, this is one of the harder Fasts I have done. I was mentally and spiritually prepared for it, but for some reason it has been difficult. I think it is because I’m believing God for some very big things in 2009. I wrote down a list of things I want to see God do and pray over them every day. I believe that God has heard my prayers “since the day I set my mind to gain understanding and humbled myself” through this fast.

 

If you have never fasted before, I would encourage you to look into it and take the plunge, even if for three or seven days. Jentezen Frankiln wrote a NY Times best selling book entitled “Fasting,” which is a great resource for those with questions. Though it may be difficult, most find that after a Fast they are spiritually, physically and mentally stronger. In the coming days, I’ll do my best to share my thoughts during this fasting journey. I’m on day 9 and know that good things are in store. God will reward the faithful and He hears the prayers prayed as we strive to get closer!

I never thought mentioning a celebrity or two would attract so many hits. Yesterday, this blog had the most single day hits in its short history. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I have some good posts coming, so stay tuned in 2009. Much of the next few months you will read about my experiences and involvement with the mammoth event in Daytona Beach we call “SPEEDWEEKS.”  Life will be fun, fast and furious. So, get in, buckle up and enjoy the ride. In the mean time, here are a few pics of my “friends,” Trisha Yearwood (2008), Richard Petty (2006 in WA) and current Steeler (former Jaguar) Byron Leftwich (2004).

Have an awesome day today and make the most out of what is before you!!

 

 

 

Striving for The Best! –mwr

I’ve tried to live my life in such a way that I am respectful to all people, regardless of if the world sees them a significant or insignificant. My job affords me the opportunity to work with celebrities like Kevin James, Kevin Costner, Trisha Yearwood, and James Caan during our race events as a “celebrity escort.” It sounds more glamorous than it really is; as my primary focus is to see that they (and their entourage) get many to places at the speedway on time, while negotiating crowds of over 250,000 people. It is a logistical nightmare to say the least, but I enjoy being in the mix of putting on the worlds greatest racing show!

 

Several years ago, Nicholas Cage came to the 500 as the Grand Marshal to promote his movie “Ghost Rider.” His agency flew in a private security person from New York to accompany us. I hit it off with the security guy and we talked often throughout the day. (He was a NASCAR novice, but very interested.) After Cage was gone, he told me he was impressed with the job we did with the schedule, transport, planning, logistics and the Daytona 500.  We parted ways, exchanged info and that was it!

 

Fast forward 3 years…..December 2009 – Amanda and I are in NYC, shopping at the Time Warner Center. I walk out of a store to see this very familiar person, but I can not place a name, context or anything….I just know that I know this guy! So after minutes of “pretend shopping,” I figure out who it is and walk up to him. (My wife thinks I am completely nuts at this point.)  Sure enough, it’s the security guy – nameless on purpose. CRAZY!!! I run into him in NYC of all places. After talking for a few minutes, Amanda runs up to me and within earshot of my newly reconnected friend utters “Hey Matt, there is Suri Cruise.” He replies “Well, I’m doing work for Katie lately.” I had kinda figured that out…..but next thing I know, we are walking along the mall with this crew! Amanda proceeds to fall in line right next to Katie Holmes and strike up a conversation – mostly about kids. It was a crazy encounter, but one predicated on the fact I was fortunate to meet, know and remember the guy who is suppose to be seen and not heard.

 

My friend gave us a dinner recommendation and we texted back a forth during the week, always getting good advice on places to see in NYC. The encounter just reminded me that it is important to value everyone. Not that the celebrity meeting was so incredible (although my friends think it was neat), but this world is a very small place! You never know when you will see someone again and it is always nice to reconnect with great people.

 

Striving for The Best! -mwr

2009 is here and things are rolling again in the Rearden house. I took an unannounced sabbatical from this blog to spend some much needed time resting and being with family. (I am sure it cost me some readers, but it was worth it!)  The Christmas and New Year seasons were just what I needed to get recharged for a great year. It is important to take all the time you can to spend with family and friends. At the end of this life, we will look back and have only memories to cherish. Make those memories more about life, love and family than about work, career and things.

 

I pray that this year is successful and prosperous for each of you. Last year was tough – gas was through the roof, the economy was in dire straits and I do not know many people who will remember 2008 as a “fantastic year.” Let’s start out this year with the right outlook, a great attitude and a can do spirit that fuels each one of us. Even if it is bleak right now, start looking forward to great things ahead. I am excited to be with you on this great journey we call life and anticipate great things!

 

I am always anxious to hear from you, so drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts on future posts, blog topics or just life in general.

 

Striving for The Best! –mwr