Just had to share....this past weekend, I was cooking a contest. It was a BCA contest which has 3 meats, Ribs, Chicken and Brisket with 1.5 hours between turn ins.... It was getting close to chicken time, and I wrapped my ribs. Now, here’s a secret for ya... I cook some chicken thighs above the ribs so that they drip and baste them while they are unwrapped... So I have these amazing chicken thighs. I typically de-bone them and take the meat home for chicken salad or chicken jambalaya. Anyways, I have this piping hot, moist and delicious thigh meat sitting in the pan and head out of the trailer to check on something. I notice a young woman taking pictures of the event and she comments... “man, it smells amazing out here”... and I respond, “hey, come over here and I’ll give you a taste of this great chicken”... so she comes over and I give her a piece. She melts. She is telling me how amazing and wonderful it is. She goes on to tell me that she is the Executive Director for the charity that the cook-off is benefiting. So I tell her to take the whole pan. Took some convincing, but she agreed because she didn’t want to take it all. Having her attention, the Holy Spirit moves me to tell her the “Thank YOU Fairy” story of Brooke. When I get done, and hand her the card, she begins to cry... a good cry. She tells me that she has been crying out to God to help her know, that what she is doing is what He wants her doing.... and our little visit WAS her answer. She then says the most amazing thing.... she asks... What was your name? and before I could say a word, she says..... “never mind...I heard God through YOU!” I was..... blown away... Never mind.... I heard God through YOU! and I just kept pondering those words..... On face value, you could take offense, but that NEVER entered my mind... it was like she was saying, who you are is not remotely as important and what you just did.... what you just did is deliver a word to me, to my heart, to my soul from God and it’s not important who you are in this world...what people call you... YOU spoke for GOD to ME! Wow, Wow and WOW...... now that part brought ME to tears. To think that God would use me, and show me, how He would use me in this way is Humbling to the core.
On Sundays, I usually have to go through a depression time of getting over not having the “contest” results that I would prefer. This Sunday was no different, other than the fact that I had this story to reflect on. Today was Father’s day. I pray at each contest that God, my Father, would be proud of what I did for Him at the contest. And today, He made it, so perfectly clear, that He WAS. This doesn’t happen by accident and by chance. God responds to complete surrender to His will for your life. It’s hard to do at times, and it’s Faith that carries us through lots of moments of wondering what the heck is going on.... But God... but God is faithful to the end and will illuminate His love for us at the exact Moment He needs us to have it.
I pray that YOU find the peace of God in your lives and it begins with surrendering your whole heart to Jesus Christ as YOUR Lord and Savior. Give it to God.... what are you waiting for? I love YOU
Give it to God – Jeff Petkevicius
Then Jesus asked them, "Would anyone light a lamp and then put it under a basket or under a bed? Of course not! A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light will shine. [Mar 4:21 NLT]
No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. [Mat 5:15 NLT]
"No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a bowl or hides it under a bed. A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house. [Luk 8:16 NLT]
OK, so it’s 3 AM on a competition morning in Memphis and I’m sitting in front of my two pits that will be doing the work. I’ve lit my small chimney stand and it’s in the process of igniting the charcoal briquettes. As I watch it come to life, and I know you do the same thing….just sit there and watch it burn… LOL, God speaks to me.
I have both pits loaded with “un-lit” charcoal, poised to do their job in producing the outstanding BBQ that I’m hoping will do well in the competition but right now they are useless. God has me look at the chimney, which is now filled with red-hot coals, and shows me how it’s just like Church. We go to Church and are ignited for Jesus with Praise and Worship music, fellowship with brothers and sisters and a good word from our Pastors. We are in the building, we are “on-fire” for Jesus.
However, that red-hot chimney of coals has no value in my BBQ contest until…… UNTIL…. I pour the hot coals into the XXL Champion Charcoal basket J filled with un-lit charcoal. Then that heat spreads and ignites the fuel and goes to work for us. That’s US folks… As Christians we go to Church, we read His word, we fellowship to keep the fire ignited, but it is of NO VALUE in God’s Kingdom until we take it to the un-lit world out there and share the Love of Jesus with those who don’t know His Love….. Is that cool or what?? Our job is to spread the fire, move the light of Jesus from under the cloak of a building and into the streets.
And then he told them, "Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. [Mar 16:15 NLT]
I just love how God uses BBQ to show us how cool He is. If you haven’t surrendered your life to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are one of the lumps waiting to be lit. I’m positive you’ve heard about Jesus, but something is holding you back from accepting that chimney full of hot coals and the Love of Jesus taking over your life. You job is to really think through what is holding you back, and the consequences of your decision. Read your bible… seek God to show you and then surrender to the peaceful life you always dreamed of, but could never accomplish without Jesus. Give it to God….your whole heart… What are you waiting for?
Being hooked into the social media world is a great blessing. It’s a powerful tool to share the gospel of Jesus, to encourage and to develop friends that are geographically distant. Caroline and I are connected and along with that comes a big dose of reality…
I don’t know about you, but Caroline and I are getting bomb-barded with friends and family going through really tough stuff. That stupid cancer is running amuck, hitting people without any sense of decency. Accidents, sicknesses, divorce and relationship issues… Day after day, our prayer list grows and grows, because in all of this, Jesus is the answer. What comes to mind are two scriptures:
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]
For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's. [1Co 6:20 NKJV]
Our natural, human reaction when a crisis unfolds in our lives is to strike out in anger. Sometimes it’s directed at God himself for allowing the mis-fortune to happen. We wonder, and question, HOW…How could this be happening to people we love, to really good people?
So, then the first scripture kicks in… 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] Really? I remember when my daughter Brooke passed away and I heard the words for the first time that she was dead. God immediately put this scripture on my heart. My response was… ok God, I know that’s your word, but I can’t see it right now! There is no way I am going to be able to handle this on my own, I need YOU, GOD to hold me through this…. And He DID!
We look at tough times and wonder, HOW in the world can this work out for Good? Where is the light in all this darkness? For all of us, I think if we take the time to re-look at our lives we will see moments of crisis that eventually turned around for our good. We can all see a pattern of God blessing us through the hard times even though we had no way of seeing it at the time.
And here’s the kicker as we move forward. Trusting God and know that His plan is perfect and then, HONORING HIM in the struggles. That’s right, when crisis hits, we thank GOD and seek to honor Him through it. You’re thinking, WHAT, are you NUTS? Well, yeah, but so what J This is where the second scripture kicks in… For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's. [1Co 6:20 NKJV]
Knowing that God is there, that His plan is perfect, and experiencing the perfection of His plan in our lives, our reaction, moving forward, needs to reflect thanksgiving for the tough times and look for the opportunity to honor God through it.
This may sound totally crazy, but I can tell you, engaging this scripture in your times of trials and tribulation will result in seeing God, His LOVE and HIS plan for your life in the most assuring, comforting and rewarding of ways. Give it to God. He wants your whole heart… what are you waiting for?
Relationships: the way in which two people are connected…
Here’s what YOUR Bible is telling you and I about “relationships”:
You must worship no other gods, for the LORD, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you. [Exo 34:14 NLT]
"Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God." [Luk 12:21 NLT]
So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God. [Rom 5:11 NLT]
God LOVES relationship with us so much so, that He gave His only SON as a sacrifice so that we COULD have one with Him. Let that sink in for a while…. WOW! What an amazing gift. No matter what we’ve done or how we have ignored the offer…it’s always there!
BBQ Competitions have their own rhythm and flow from arrival to departure. After 130 of them, The pattern is consistent. Arrival and setting up is fun filled with excitement for the contest and learning who your neighbors will be, and who will be competing for you to visit with. We are greeted by organizers and Contest officials, we get instructions and schedules, meat gets inspected, Cooks meeting, Friday night socializing, Saturday morning cooks church, Game ON- Time to cook, turn in, break down, awards, tears (joy and anguish) J, Good-byes and head for home.
What I realized is how valuable the whole experience of a contest is for creating and nurturing relationships. In our busy-busy hurry-up world, we all have so much going on, that taking 10 minutes to visit with someone is unusual. And the reality is that relationships are emotional support fuel for our lives. That may be why we have all migrated to Facebook and twitter to engage in relationships. We can take 30 minutes to check-in and see what our world of friends are up to and scroll through hundreds of “relationships”.
The BBQ contest brings our world to a halt for a couple days. The opportunity to sit down, and spend time with people we care about is laid out for us like a precious gift. This holds true for making new friends as well. In Jackson TN, I cooked next to Ray, Audra, Wade, Reagan and Riley, a really cool family from Ohio. Through the course of the weekend, we sat and talked, shared stories and cheered each other on. I can’t think of a situation that would present such a great opportunity to make friends like a BBQ contest.
And to think that our God, the one and only true God the Father, WANTS and DESIRES a relationship with you and I is just incredible. I can tell you, from my experience with God, that making time to spend with Him every day has impacted my life more than words can say. I experience His comfort and peace that can only come from God, regardless of what Life is throwing my way. Reading His word, praying and rejoicing in what He does for me everyday is a perfect relationship
God wants a relationship with YOU, and no matter what you’ve done, where you’ve fallen off the tracks, He is there with open arms waiting, and wanting, to hold you close to His heart. Give it to God, your whole heart… What are you waiting for?
…the reason why something is done or used : the aim or intention of something-the feeling of being determined to do or achieve something the aim or goal of a person : what a person is trying to do, become, etc…
So what is YOURS? In your mind it may be one of the roles you play, a mother, father, brother, sister, aunt, unkle, son or daughter. It may be the work that you do, doctor, dentist, welder, nurse, cook, chef, teacher, police officer, tug boat captain etc..
Trust me, it’s more than we know. Yes, we all have roles to play in our lives as part of living here on earth. But, is that our purpose? If any of you have watched my videos, or been to a competition where I hold cook’s church, you’ve heard me say… You want to hear GREAT preaching, what do you do…open up the bible and read it out loud… Here’s what Your Bible is telling you and I about PURPOSE:
16 But I have spared you for a purpose--to show you my power and to spread my fame throughout the earth. [Exo 9:16 NLT] 21 You can make many plans, but the LORD's purpose will prevail. [Pro 19:21 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] 8 The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. [1Co 3:8 NLT] 22 I have sent him to you for this very purpose--to let you know how we are doing and to encourage you. [Eph 6:22 NLT] 27 Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News. [Phl 1:27 NLT] 4 For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts. [1Th 2:4 NLT]
After returning from my 125th contest, God made it clear to me, once again… my purpose. He gave me this to share with my friends on Facebook and I wanted to share it with all of you.
I don't normally post my competition results, but I'm making an exception. In my 125 pro contests, I had my best finish ever yesterday in Auburn. Shortly after turning in brisket, I started my breakdown process when I noticed an elderly man standing outside my door. It was the look on his face that made me stop. He looked shocked and amazed in a good way. He asked if I owned the trailer, yes sir, I replied...and then with a look of peace, and encouragement, he said, THIS IS IT. He shook my hand in A warm embrace and said Thank You! And I got IT. I knew God arranged the meeting as His way of rewarding me in an amazing way! Oh, the contest... 23rd place out of 25, last place chicken and the others deserved to be there as well. Thank you God for your patience with me until I get it! I'll never forget #125
I will embrace and hold dear, the purpose that God has for me in this crazy world of Pro BBQ… and of course, I’ll still ask for a WIN everytime I cook and He will deliver, just sometimes with a handshake J If you haven’t given your entire life over to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior… What are you waiting for? Give it to God! I Love you all.
National BBQ News – Give it to God – Jeff Petkevicius
“Own the Moment” – What a very cool and catchy phrase that my wife has incorporated into her little company that makes a training aid for classical voice students. In their world of performing, fear and anxiety are a huge obstacle that they face. It can destroy a performance and they all know it. Caroline has taken on the mission to encourage students on Social Media with encouraging messages around the theme – Own the Moment!
When we look at this crazy thing we call life, ALL we have is – This Moment. The past is the past, the future is never guaranteed. This Moment is what we decide to make it. God’s glory gives us the control stick to decide how we spend our moments, where we invest them. Of course, God wants us to use them for His glory, but He gives us the choice.
For years, my life was all about me, me and more of ME. Being blessed with intellect, whit, energy, motivation, dedication, discipline, it was a toxic cocktail for going through life running over and hurting people that I cared about to get what made ME happy. It took the courage and conviction of a dear friend to point that out to me in a blunt way. At that – moment – I knew I was headed to hell forever if I continued on the path of decisions I had made. I also knew that the pattern would continue of hurting those I love with my decisions…. It was time… It was time to surrender my life, give up on trying to do it my way… It was time to make Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior.
That moment – I OWNED that MOMENT – and made the absolute best decision of my life. I gave my heart and soul to Jesus for Him to use me for the rest of my heartbeats to serve, honor and glorify Him with my LIFE!
It was scary, I had no idea what it meant, what I would do, how I would act. It really was a vulnerable moment like an infant child, which is exactly what I was – Born Again!
For those of you that know me, for however long you’ve known me, I hope you see what that looks like in my life. I pray that you see the amazing power of God’s grace to save a wretch like ME! That same saving power, miraculous gift, is available to each and every one of us. It just takes surrender and crying out to Jesus to save us! Salvation is a gift from God. There is no way we can earn it, we just have to accept it.
Are you there? Are you Saved? Now is YOUR MOMENT! Own this moment – Give your whole heart to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior!
[Rom 10:9-11 NLT] 9 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. 11 As the Scriptures tell us, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced."
11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. [Rom 8:11 NLT]
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere--in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." [Act 1:8 NLT]
12 "I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. [Jhn 14:12 NLT]
13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. [Phl 4:13 NLT]
4 But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. [1Jo 4:4 NLT]
What are you waiting for J
So now what? Most of us are sitting here in the coma of BBQ competition withdrawls. The effects are similar with some adjustments. We walk out to where the pits are stored, open them up, smell inside and contemplate cooking again soon. Problem is, soon is not soon enough. So we decide to do some practice. Some of us will go so far as to get together with buddies and go through a real competition time-line. We’ll turn in our stuff and be guaranteed a GC or RGC J
The point is, we have down time. How we decide to use that time can work to our Professional advantage or not. Now is the time to dig into practice and research. Anybody in this sport for long enough will tell you, the more we learn, the more we realize how much we don’t know. So the key, is to take all of what you have learned this past year and blend it with new ideas that you’ve uncovered through research, reading, or visiting with other teams. Some would call that “shigging”, I call it professional development J
At this point in many of our careers, it’s not about whole scale changes, but more the fine tuning of our craft of being a “PitMaster”. In today’s competitive environment with Social Media, YouTube etc… the basics are there for anybody to uncover. The bar of Great BBQ remains high, but those capable of reaching it has grown in leaps and bounds. Our sport is evolving to competitions that are decided by as little as 0.001 points. How we perfect the smallest of details can, and will, make the difference at the judging table.
The very same can be said about our walks with Jesus Christ. The more time we spend as Christians sharing the truth of salvation, the more pin-point, and accurate our delivery of that message will become. Over time, many of us who share the Gospel realize that it’s the smallest of details that can help lead somebody to Jesus Christ. God saves, and we help lead. Our role is to be the example of Jesus to everyone we meet and in every situation we are a part of. Challenging as this is, Preaching is more about “doing” than it is “telling”. How we behave and how we show people we care about them will shine the light of Jesus in ways that He needs in today’s world.
I know that God loves BBQ. He makes many references to sacrifices and offerings that were BBQ in the day. He also valued salt and it’s value in our lives. We are called to be the light of the world. Take up that challenge and carry Jesus Christ into your heart and life with everything you do.
13 "You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. 14 "You are the light of the world--like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. [Mat 5:13-15 NLT]
Be the light and be the Salt… BBQ on my friends and if you haven’t surrendered your life to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior…. What are you waiting for? Give it to God!
BBQ Times, National BBQ News, BBQ Critic – Give it to God – Jeff Petkevicius - Column
A New Year… wow, how time flies as we slip more and more into the category of “old fart” J
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:
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?
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?
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?
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? J
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?
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?
Jeff Loves Jesus and since being saved... born-again... my desire is to work for Him in whatever capacity that becomes. :)