Our 22nd Daytona 500 is in the books! Our hearts are so full and we are grateful to our faithful God for His love for this community. It took many hands this last week to make it all happen and to keep it all going. What an incredible outpouring of excitement that fillled our little tent every moment of every day.
Our heart to serve Christ alongside of each other began when we got married in May of 1981- that is almost 42 years if you need help counting. God connected us to MRO in the late 90’s. We fell in love with the mission and longed to serve God in the field, outside of the church as we had done so many times before! Everything we had learned in our early years of ministry drew us deeply to the work going on at the MRO Commmunity Center. Ron Pegram and Jackie Pegram, thanks for believing in us and encouraging us to step toward the work that God was doing through MRO.
God continues to love and stir in our midst. We raise His banner week after week and He continues to faithfully draw people to Himself. Our heartbeat is to capture every moment that will lead to conversations about the gospel, to live faithfully and remain steadfast among our community, to keep loving them as God has loved us and to give our very best in order to see the kingdom of God grow and flourish in 2023. Heaven will tell of God’s faithfulness through the years and tonight I give thanks to God for allowing us to offer our hearts to the one small part of the whole of the work that God is doing in the lives of NASCAR families. Glory and honor to Him!
So grateful for our sweet little Community Center tribe of hard working ladies (and men) who bring their best every weekend to make the Community Center available to traveling families.
Until Atlanta friends!
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23
If you want to stay up-to-date on MRO Community Center happenings text MROCC to 55498
We will begin using this texting app in Atlanta. You will get all that you need to know regarding where and when for all events, supervised care times and our location- as best as we can describe it. Just know that we are ALWAYS in the Cup Driver/Owner lot.
Bristol Motor Speedway is hosting an Easter Celebration outside of the track @ 4pm on April 17.
In order to accommodate those in our industry space to enjoy the event, there will be a special area designated for you. With that said, if you will be attending, please let me know. The track wants to make sure there will be ample space for everyone. There will also be an area for golf cart parking.
Simply reply to this thread or send me a message if you will be attending!!
Please accept our sincere apologies. The MRO CC will not be available in Richmond due to unforeseen repairs on the toter home and community center trailer. We will be back to our regular schedule in Martinsville. Thanks for your understanding!!
“I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, And crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, And not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16
“I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.” John 12:46
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9
“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:10
Before the invention of electricity, oil lamps were common. Add oil, trim the wick and light the lantern.
Without light, darkness is deep, real and often frightening. When a lantern flickers out, the darkness feels complete.
Jesus frequently uses lamps and lanterns in His analogies, comparing His truth and love to physical light (Matt. 5:14-16) or using light to call for a prepared expectation of His return (Matthew 25:1-13). In the New Testament, Jesus calls Himself the Light of the World — and we are invited into His light.
There’s something inside each of us that feels dark — something that weighs heavily on our hearts. Our experiences are different, and each of us feels that burden in a different way. Our life stories are all filled with hardships and difficulties that reveal darkness in our lives.
When you come to Jesus for the first time, you’re cloaked in darkness. Your sin and shame cast shadows over your heart. You’re walking through the world blindly. But Jesus, the Light of the World, reaches you through the darkness and pulls you into His beautiful and glorious light. Jesus, the ultimate lantern, the ultimate guide, sees each detail of your pain and sin.
Throughout your life with Christ, darkness will creep back in.
As a human, you’re sinful. As a child of God, you’re forgiven. Although you will continue making mistakes, Christ’s forgiveness breaks through every barrier. Likewise, difficulties will come that you did not cause, but which affect you greatly. Even in these dark places, Christ is your eternal lantern.
Reflect and Respond
How have you seen Christ’s light in your life? How has He broken through your darkness? What parts of your life need the light of Christ the most? Reflect on this in a quiet moment with the Lord today.
Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
A week later His disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’”
“Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” John 20:24-31
Doubt gets a bad rap in many Christian circles. In today’s passage, we see someone whose uncertainty became so well known, his name became synonymous with doubt. “Doubting Thomas” is about as desirable a nickname as “Party Pooper” or “Debbie Downer.” Feeling doubt would likely not be anyone’s preference, just as most people prefer not to feel discomfort, sadness or anger.
But is doubt bad?
Many people add insult to injury by heaping shame on themselves when they feel doubt. But like discomfort, sadness and anger, doubt is not wrong in and of itself.
Look at how Jesus responds to Thomas, who doubted even his fellow disciples’ eyewitness testimony. He isn’t harsh with His friend, but He offers to meet him exactly where he is. He provides what Thomas needs to move from doubt to trust that Jesus is exactly who He says He is.
Jesus goes on to give a blessing for all who won’t have the opportunity to touch Him in the same way Thomas did but who will hear and believe nonetheless. Thomas’ story ought not to be used to shame or discourage anyone. Instead, Jesus went out of His way to comfort and encourage His followers.
If a little child falls, good parents don’t stand over them, arms crossed, foot tapping, yelling for them to get up or be disowned. A good parent goes to the child, offering a hand and an encouraging word. God is a good Father. He is patient and kind. Even when we cannot sense Him close by, we can keep calling out and trust that He hears, He cares and He will respond in love.
How do you feel about your doubt? How do you think Jesus feels about your doubt? Calling out for help is itself an act of faith. Don’t worry if you feel uncertain even as you call.
For a deeper dive into your doubt and how the Lord can walk you through it, consider reading Doubtless: Because Faith is Hard by Shelby Abbott.
“The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” 1Corinthians 2:15-16
Stop. Take a deep breath. Inhale. Exhale. Again.
You never notice that you’re breathing unless you’re asked to breathe — like right now or at the doctor’s office. But you are constantly breathing.
It’s the same with your thoughts. Every day, all day, you make choices based on thoughts you are unaware of. Often these thoughts are negative. Lies, doubts, worries and fears creep in unnoticed.
How can you be aware of and replace negative thoughts with what is true about you, about God and about reality?
Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 2:15-16 that those who have accepted Christ “have the mind of Christ.” With Christ’s Spirit, you have the ability to think like Him.
You can begin recognizing lies you are believing by comparing your thoughts and beliefs with God’s Word. We all have lies we believe that are sometimes hard to articulate, but when we confess them and bring them into the light of God’s Word, we can experience freedom. (For example, perhaps you’re believing that you’re alone in a tough situation and have to figure it out on your own, when, in reality, if you belong to Christ, the Holy Spirit indwells you. God is with you always and longs to give you the wisdom you need.)
I practice walking in this freedom throughout my day by simply asking, “What am I honestly believing and feeling about what I’m facing right now?” Then ask, “What would God say about what I’m facing right now?” Then I pray that God would give His wisdom and lead me to answers in the Bible. When I open a dialogue with God in prayer and depend on His Spirit to guide me, God begins to replace lies with truth I find in Scripture.
Jesus fought off lies this way when Satan tempted Him in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). Satan came at Jesus from all angles, including by distorting Scripture. But each time Satan tried to tempt Him, Jesus responded by quoting directly from the Old Testament. “It is written,” replied Jesus when Satan pressed Him to change stones into bread, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’”
John 8:31-32 is a great reminder that holding on to Christ, the Author of truth, makes all the difference: “Jesus said, ‘If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’”.
Reflect and Respond
What is a lie or worry that keeps you from the freedom that Jesus offers? Is it that you are not worthy of love? That you can’t handle whatever you are facing? That God won’t take care of you? Breathe out your negative thoughts by writing them down or saying them out loud. Then ask God what He would say about these things. What does He say about you?
Don’t know what God would say? Look for Scripture related to what you are facing. Memorize these truths. Breathe in these truths every day.
Resentment about serving builds where I used to enjoy it.
Envy rises toward people who appear to lead a simpler life.
I tabulate the work I’ve accomplished for Jesus before clocking out of good deeds for the day.
Do you, as I do, tend to function like you’re God’s employee instead of a beloved member of His family?
When I’m in this kind of funk, the story of the father and his sons in Luke 15 snaps me back to reality.
A wealthy father has two sons, and one asks for his inheritance early. This son, the younger, parties his fortune away while the other stays at the family farm, working hard to build the estate. I get that life — the life of the dutiful child.
Then the younger son returns completely broke, willing to take the place of a servant. Instead, he’s welcomed back as a cherished son.
The older brother — the responsible one — now spews his resentment. He’s never felt celebrated, and he’s angry. He was there the whole time working so hard, being so good, but missing out on life.
The father finds his older son outside the house and pleads with him. “Everything I have is yours,” the father says. “You are always with me,” he adds, pleading for deeper understanding. We are left wondering about this older brother. Does he get it? Is he ever able to receive what his father wanted to give him: an invitation into his presence, to his wealth? We are left wondering how he will respond.
Regardless of whom you identify with in Jesus’ story, this invitation is extended to you too.
If you relate to the younger son, will you come home and embrace the father waiting for you? Or will you remain far from the family, hoping to work something out on your own?
If you, like me, relate to the elder brother, will you remain in the darkness, lost outside the celebration, resentful because you worked so hard for so long to earn something that was free all along? Or will you join in on the party, accepting God’s free and complete favor extended to you through His Son, Jesus?
Spend some time reflecting on Luke 15. When have you felt lost, resentful or like you had to earn God’s acceptance? What did the older son feel that he deserved? What did the father hope his older son would see about their relationship? How is the father’s character in the story similar to or different from what you understand of God?
Alison Wilson currently works with college students at Texas A&M University.