If you have followed my writings, you will know that I am often humbled and honored to be a part of the Pro BBQ World…our family. Never more so, than now, after participating in the Operation BBQ Relief effort in Hammond Louisiana following the devastating floods this past August. What was anticipated to be a moderate deployment of 5-7 days serving an estimated 70,000 meals, blossomed into a 15 day, 313,000 meal heroic relief effort.
The thing about this flood was that it was never dramatic. There were no vicious winds or thundering clouds…it just rained, and rained and rained. Eventually the lands ability to absorb and run off the water was eclipsed and hundreds of thousands of people lost their homes, businesses devastated and entire families without a place to go for days without food, water, or contact with others. Katrina was bad, this was horrendous.
For the BBQ family, in steps Operation BBQ Relief, the organization started by Stan Hays and Will Cleaver 5 years ago in response to the Joplin MO Tornado disaster. Early on, My wife Caroline and I knew this was going to be much worse than was being reported. It took 1 Facebook message to Stan, that we were going to need help down here and the wheels started turning.
I was quickly hooked up with Bryan Ropollo, the Louisiana lead and with the help of Scott Jones – Liberty BBQ, we secured the Oak Tree Church and School as a location to set up camp. By Sunday afternoon on the 14th of August, Deployment had begun. Mike Whitlow from Papas Smoke Pit, and Tangipahoa School Board member jumped in and began harnessing local contacts for getting the operation running with bread, vegetables, meat and volunteers to get the cooking started.
Along the way, teams from all over the country started showing up to help, Barry Smith – Bayou Boogie, Mike Richter – Chic Swine and Bovine, Adam Goutrea – Cajun Blaze – Bubba Latimer – Bubba Q – Kenny Nadeau – Unkle Kenny’s BBQ -David Clark – BBQ Grillbillies – Brad Orson and family from the Shed, Johnathan Huddleston, Damon Blue….and the list goes on and on… including John Wheeler and his crew from Natural Born Grillers bringing down their trailer with 3 huge Ole Hickories for some monster volume cooking capacity.
The volunteer crew, their work ethic and willingness to take on any job was inspiring. Once we got all the wheels in motion we quickly hit the 25,000 meals a day mark and several time eclipsing 30,000. During the deployment OBR eclipsed the 1 Million Meals Served mark, a stunning accomplishment for such a young, completely volunteer organization…. Wow.
I share all of this to just reflect on the accomplishment of all the men and women involved in OBR’s Hammond Deployment from the Board of Directors down to the student volunteers cleaning up the continuous messes we made.
For me, from my perspective, I had an on-field, sideline pass to watch God work miracle after miracle. Cooking 200 pork butts from 127* and a stone cold pit, to DONE is 1.5 hours to make a way for us to push out 8,000 meals by 9 AM…. To the amazing bonds and friendships forged by the exhausting work 12-16 hours per day and the desire to return day after day…. And story after story of the appreciation that a hot meal made to the lives of people and their families in such a tragic time.
My prayer is that we never have to see Operation BBQ relief again in this part of the country. With the reality of weather in our area, that’s not likely, and so I have comfort in knowing that wherever disaster strikes, Our Amazing BBQ family will show up to help soften the blow of disasters and send out hugs through hot meals, one person at a time.
I love my BBQ family and I am honored to have served in this way. God bless all of you.
God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied. God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. [Mat 5:4-8 NLT]
Then he said, "Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own." [Luk 12:15 NLT]
Sometimes I read the bible and just sit back amazed! What God has for us is so contrary to what the world will tell us and try to drill into our lives. Every day we are saturated with messages that tell us we need more, gotta have more, gotta have better, bigger, newer….. there is no escaping the trap.
Then God reminds us in so many ways that “wealth” is not determined by how much we have, but by how “little” we need… By that definition, I have met many worldly “wealthy” people who are “poor” by this definition and many “poor” who have true “wealth”.
Here in our world of BBQ there are no rich and poor, there are just brothers and sisters cooking away, trying to hear their name called at the end of the day. When we turn in our efforts, they go into a box that is un-identifiable by design. The contests are organized with great pains to insure that there is now way to identify who’s entry it is. The judges are presented with entries and judge them on their merit, not who they came from. It’s as fair a process that can be established. Cooks will argue judging and results, tables of death etc…it’s just what we do, but in the end, Great BBQ wins.
God is the same way, when we turn in our lives to be judged, God doesn’t care what we look like, where we’ve been, how much we acquired, how big our house is, etc.. God cares about what we did with what He gave us…. And He expects a return on His investment…
Before he left, he called together ten of his servants and divided among them ten pounds of silver, saying, 'Invest this for me while I am gone.' But his people hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, 'We do not want him to be our king.' "After he was crowned king, he returned and called in the servants to whom he had given the money. He wanted to find out what their profits were. The first servant reported, 'Master, I invested your money and made ten times the original amount!' "'Well done!' the king exclaimed. 'You are a good servant. You have been faithful with the little I entrusted to you, so you will be governor of ten cities as your reward.' "The next servant reported, 'Master, I invested your money and made five times the original amount.' "'Well done!' the king said. 'You will be governor over five cities.' "But the third servant brought back only the original amount of money and said, 'Master, I hid your money and kept it safe. I was afraid because you are a hard man to deal with, taking what isn't yours and harvesting crops you didn't plant.' "'You wicked servant!' the king roared. 'Your own words condemn you. If you knew that I'm a hard man who takes what isn't mine and harvests crops I didn't plant, why didn't you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.' "Then, turning to the others standing nearby, the king ordered, 'Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one who has ten pounds.' "'But, master,' they said, 'he already has ten pounds!' "'Yes,' the king replied, 'and to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. And as for these enemies of mine who didn't want me to be their king--bring them in and execute them right here in front of me.'" [Luk 19:13-27 NLT]
God has blessed all of us with gifts that He considers an investment. Are you giving God a return on His investment? He want’s your whole heart, Give it to God, what are you waiting for?
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
Jeff Loves Jesus and since being saved... born-again... my desire is to work for Him in whatever capacity that becomes. :)